--2 On The Fly at Viva Mexico!
Sept. 22, 2017
Death-defying men from Veracruz perform La Danza de los Voladores
Mike Zolnick

On The Fly at Viva Mexico!

July 21, 2010, 12:00 am
By Mike Zolnick
Mexico's Consul General Gustavo de Unanue said, "There's a problem with the American perspective of Mexico…we should be building bridges instead of walls." One sunny weekend, July 17 and 18, El Rancho De Las Golondrinas did just that with its 3rd annual Viva Mexico! festival.

The festival began early in the morning with an address by las Golondrinas Executive Director John Birkenwood and Mayor David Coss. The crowd quickly fell from applause into gasps as five men from Papantla, Veracruz, climbed a 60-foot pole with the intention of throwing themselves from it.

Trained since childhood, these fearless men performed La Danza de los Voladores, the Dance of the Flying Men, an ancient fertility ritual rarely performed north of the border.

Death-defying men from Veracruz perform La Danza de los Voladores
Credits: Mike Zolnick

Four dancers were led around and up the pole by their leader, the caporal, whose dancing atop a 2'X2' board 60 feet above the ground made even the flying men look a bit fearful. The crowd ooh'd and ahh'd as the ceremony reached its peak, a moment you would have to see to believe (check out the video above!)

Viva Mexico! also brought 45 artisans from 15 different states of Mexico for a mercado, where visitors browsed a colorful and diverse selection of crafts from across the country. Merchants sold everything from traditional cooking ingredients to luchador masks to weekend getaways in Mexico.

Mexican vendors sell a variety of crafts at the �Viva Mexico! market
Credits: Mike Zolnick

Fernando Olea, whose efforts brought together las Golondrinas and the Mexican consul, presented a cooking demonstration focused on mole, a dish he's perfected over the last few decades.

And the sotol tasting. Oh, the sotol.

As Unanue describes, "It's tequila for men."

This spirit, made from the Desert Spoon leaves, is certainly not to be messed with. And, if we want to make it to the annual Viva Mexico! celebration, we'll all have to lay off the sotol—at least for a little while.


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