Mexico City’s largest cultural event is the Feria Internacional de las Culturas Amigas (“International Fair of the Friend Cultures”) where more than 80 countries are invited to share their culture through art, music, theatre events, and food fairs. It’s no secret to locals that it’s one of the best options throughout the year to eat great affordable exotic food! The event normally took place in the Zócalo till it was moved to the 1st section of the Parque de Chapultepec (in order to have more space) in 2019, that unfortunately coincided with the start of the COVID 19 pandemic, but fortunately, the fair has been making an effort to re-find its footing and continue thriving.
Typically the fair will host 86 countries through their respective diplomatic representations and expects some 4 million visitors (!) during the couple of weeks that it takes place (between May and June of every year). The fair celebrates the differences of each culture but also the similarities that make us all human; for example in 2018 the winning layout design of the fair (won by TO architecture firm in Mexico) was inspired by the similarities of development throughout the civilizations of the world, the project was titled UR, which was the word used by the Sumerians that meant city, and that later became urbe (city of a large population in Spanish) and urban. Access to the fair is free, as it’s an event sponsored by the city’s government with the intention to bring foreign culture and customs to some of its habitants who can’t afford to travel overseas.
The activities of the fair are normally divided into pavilions, and one of these pavilions is also focused on Mexico City itself, where organizers pretend it to be an area of reflection and conversation; in 2019, 150 guests were invited to hold 19 “discussion circles” where prevalent topics in the city are discussed such as violence, disability, and gender-related issues. Poetry and other art forms are included in these activities as well.
In 2020 and 2021 the Feria Internacional de las Culturas Amigas was held virtually due to the COVID pandemic, exhibitions were hosted on the event’s website; for this coming 2022 edition it’s still not clear if it will be held virtually again or it will come back in all its glory; many people in the city have been actively expressing their desire for the latter.