Tenerife Carnival Queen Costumes

Wed, February 22nd, 2012 - By Andrea Montgomery

All across the Canary Islands from Lanzarote and Gran Canaria to Tenerife, carnival fever has the islands currently in its grip and TV screens and streets are filled with queens – infant queens, third age queens, adult queens and gay queens – all clad in the most spectacular costumes. But the prize for the most splendid creations goes undoubtedly to the adult queens.

On Tenerife the Gala Election to elect the new carnival queen is held in the Recinto Ferial exhibition centre in Santa Cruz and, until the curtain rises on the show, the costumes being worn by the candidates are one of the island’s most closely guarded secrets. So much store is held by the element of surprise that designers travel far and wide to source materials, presumably in case they’re seen furtively leaving  local premises.

Costing thousands of Euros to produce, each costume has a sponsor in the form of local businesses who put forward the funding to make the outfit in exchange for the TV and newspaper publicity that comes with carnival. Typical sponsors are local newspapers, TV channels, shopping centres, major employers and even large food chains. One of this year’s Santa Cruz candidates had McDonalds as a co-sponsor, thankfully the costume didn’t consist of a clown in yellow with red and white stripes.

As well as designing the Santa Cruz carnival queen costumes, designers are often involved in creating costumes for other carnival events across Tenerife and for the dance troupes and Murga groups that participate. With 20,000 people involved in the Santa Cruz Opening Parade alone, all of them wearing elaborate costumes, it’s a lucrative business to be in.

Designers usually come up with the inspiration for the costume which is then agreed with the sponsors. Next comes the all-important selection of the candidates. These are the most hotly contested jobs on Tenerife and thousands upon thousands of girls apply every year for the chance to wear the costume and a shot at fulfilling their fairytale dream – to be Queen of the carnival on Tenerife.

Chosen as much for their personality as their looks, the selected girls have to go into training to build the muscles necessary to ‘wear’ the costumes. Reaching up to five metres (over 16ft) in height, four metres (over 13ft) wide and weighing anything up to 500 kilos (over 78st) this is not something you can pull on to go down the pub. For one thing, you’d never fit through the door. Constructed in 20 to 30 individual pieces and mounted onto an iron frame on wheels, the 12 costumes that competed in last week’s gala election took up a small aircraft hanger of space backstage before appearing in front of audiences.

On the night of the election, a panel of judges have to select four winners from the 12 candidates, the fourth, third and second Dames and the overall Carnival Queen. All four finalists will participate in parades in the city throughout carnival.

Inspired by the days of the Roman Empire, this year’s winning costume is called Imperio, designed by Santi Castro, sponsored by Tranvia shopping centre and worn by the very beautiful Carmen Gil González. After this week, carnival on Tenerife moves south and you’ll be able to see carnaval queen costumes in Los Gigantes and in Los Cristianos carnivals.

Posted : Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 at 1:30 pm
Category : about tenerife
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2 Responses to “Tenerife Carnival Queen Costumes”

  1. […] for some of Tenerife’s most popular and well attended events, including the election of the Santa Cruz Carnaval Queen every year. But the event which attracts the most people over its five day duration is the vast […]

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