Carolina Drake, NYC October 29-The Huejotzingo Carnival is an unexplored economic territory where culture and heritage of Puebla, Mexico is promoted while fruitful marketing opportunities begin to rise. In NYC, approximately one thousand poblanos participate yearly representing Puebla in the September 15 Huejotzingo Carnival Parade. The carnival takes place in 5th Avenue, and later in Jackson Heights, Queens, where approximately 60% identify as Hispanic according to a 2011 report of the Furman Center at NYU. The celebration gives the working class community an opportunity to dress up in beautiful costumes, reenact epic stories, dance, and promote their heritage.
Economic impact studies in NYC have shown that carnivals around the globe offer much to further economic development of their host locations. For example, a “Brooklyn Carnival Impact Study” released by Hardbeat news report in 2004 found that the total economic impact of the 2003 West Indian American Day Carnival was $154,800,000. The study, conducted by The Lugano Group, Inc., with funding from the Empire State Development Corp. identified some of the money flows of the celebration such as costs of creative preparation of music bands, events, advertising, and sales of costumes, government investment, and earned income by private event promoters and creative population.
The Heujotzingo Carnival celebration shares similar money flows although with a smaller population. Currently in progress is a census to identify its direct and indirect economic impact. Items identified as marketing opportunities are: tourism of members who arrive from Puebla to play in the band or dance, contribution of neighbors who come out to celebrate in the streets and later, at private venues, cost of creative preparation of music bands, cost of advertising, earned income by private event promoters and creative population.
At a macro-economic level, the carnival sustains money flow from direct sales of hand crafted costumes, that are imported from Mexico, and get international support through Mexican government investments. Cesar Flores, member of the local committee who organizes de carnival in NYC, explained that “costumes are hand crafted in Puebla and we buy them directly from Mexico.” Flores also met with the mayor of Huejotzingo, Puebla, Felipe Gorzo Ortega, whose municipality offers economic support to those who represent the carnival in NYC, and recognized them for their efforts:
Those who represent the municipality in the United States are proudly recognized for their daily efforts to search for the ‘american dream’ to obtain a better quality of life for their families, and for their interest in preserving the love for these traditions, that are part of their identity as Mexicans.
Although, to date, there is no clear policy on carnival events as an industry, this Mexican carnival is an important contributor to the local economy and an example of how immigrant workers impact positively on their community not only from a cultural perspective, but also at a micro and macro economic level that is to be further studied.
(Photography by Miguel Ángel Andrade at: http://wezophoto.carbonmade.com/)