If there is a heaven, I hope it’s a lot like this.
I’ve been visiting the Candelaria plant fair here in San Miguel de Allende’s grand old Parque Juarez every day since it opened on February 1st and I’ll likely continue this pattern until its closing day on the 15th. To me, this annual event, which heralds springtime, is heaven on earth.
Sometimes, with outstretched, inclusive arms, I enthuse to the vendors I pass, who by now recognize me, “Este es el paraíso!” (this is paradise!). They’re quick to nod and smile back at me.
If you haven’t yet been to San Miguel’s Candelaria Fair, now in its sixty-seventh year, imagine this: A huge park (the overall size of three soccer fields, I’m guessing) filled with soaring trees more than a century old, and winding, brick-laid walkways that are now during the Candelaria lined with open stalls displaying eye-poppingly beautiful plants for sale.
The overall ambiance is peaceful, clean, and orderly — as I envision our hoped-for heaven to be. Attendees appear blissed out by the overwhelming natural beauty of it all. It’s easy to overhear, in hushed tones, words in both English and Spanish such as, “Oh, look at this!” and “Mira, que bonita!”
The vendors, growers from various parts of Mexico, don’t need to be aggressive salespeople; their colorful, flowering plants, citrus saplings, cacti and succulents (and lots, lots more) sell themselves.
For me, wandering around the Candelaria Fair, and occasionally giving in to the temptation of buying something irresistible, is like walking through a wonderland. To me, it’s heavenly.
So if you’re in SMA and haven’t yet been to the fair, do go as soon as you can. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until next Wednesday, February 15. This being Mexico, you’ll find food vendors there too, as well as scheduled musical events and entertainment on the large stage set up in the center basketball courts.
However, if you’re too far away to attend SMA’s Candelaria this year, I hope that a few more of my photos will magically bring you to it and help you dream of the Spring that’s around the corner where you live.
Now I’m wondering: Will there be wheelbarrows in heaven?