For lovers of the arts and culture of Mexico, few dates are as anticipated as Palm Sunday in Uruapan, Michoacan. Tianguis Artesanal de Domingo de Ramos, the Palm Sunday Artisan Festival, is a true celebration of folk art and the indigenous culture in all its many forms. The Artisan Festival is the largest in Mexico and attracts nearly two thousand artists, cooks, craftspersons, weavers, dancers and contestants from all over the state of Michoacan.
The Parade of Villages will open the festivities on Saturday before Palm Sunday, when the indigenous residents parade in their traditional, native dress. Most villages are represented and many carry examples of their local craft, proudly showing their work. Some throw samples of their crafts, like the New Orleans Mardi Gras parades throwing beads. The parade ends at the central plaza where the artisans display and sell their crafts.
One of the many events taking place during Semana Santa is the Concurso de Artesania de Domingo de Ramos, the Crafts Contest, with cash prizes for the best crafts in Michoacan. This year the concurso is at La Casa de La Cultura on Calle Garcia Ortiz #1. All crafts are for sale after the judging and don't be surprised if you see a stampede to favorite artists. View the best of Michoacan from 10am to 7pm.
One of the most popular events during Semana Santa is the Tianguis de Artesania, the Artisan Crafts Fair, held in the central Plaza of Uruapan. As with all tianguis, opening hours are not set, while quality and price varies, but if it's made in Michoacan, you will find it there.
There is also a contest for regional clothing in the Concurso de Traje Regional during the Palm Sunday market. Don't miss the pleated skirts from Santa Fe de Laguna.
The culinary arts are represented at the Food Court, offering regional food, including the best squash blossom quesadillas I have ever tasted. As usual, it was a genuine, family affair. Grandmother was grinding the corn for the blue tortillas and placed them on the comal. Her daughter supervised assembling the quesadillas, while her daughter was plating and serving them. The great-grandmother handled the sales, while their ever-present dog kept an eye on everything.
Uruapan is one of the oldest cities in Mexico. Its main natural attraction is the Cupatitzio River (dubbed "the river that sings"), because along its flow are tourist attractions. Paricutín volcano emerged in the vicinity in 1943, scaring away much of the population. The city and the municipality are both the second-largest in the state, behind only the state capital of Morelia.
Uruapan is served by Uruapan International Airport. Uruapan has a sister city: Culver City, the street where National Park is has that name (Culver City Street); also, the firefighters of Uruapan received a few years ago personal equipment and vehicles from Culver City and Kansas City Fire Department to do a better job.
The region is well known for its agriculture - particularly the production of the finest avocados in the country. There are also extensive orchards of oranges and grapefruit in the Nueva Italia area to the south along Highway 37, and travelers on that route can often come across citrus stands on the side of the highway where sacks full of these fruits can be purchased at very reasonable cost.