This year some 1.300 paids of feet moving in unison to the bongo beat of 110 dedicated percussionists one a dance floor that will stretch more than a kilometre are all part of the year festivals in the city of Cali.

This will be the fifth consecutive year that the Salsódromo (Salsa marathon) will be opening event for the 55th edition of the Feria de Cali. The artistic parade is each become a more important part of the annual cultural fair, that will be part of the presentation of the World Games that are being hosted in the city in 2013.

For over five hours, members of the most prestigious sala schools in Cali will be dancing on the Autopista Suroriental between carreras 56 y 44 on the south side of the city, on Christmas Day, from noon to 7pm, the date of the official start of the fair.

“Cali Mundial” is the name of the sala dance festival that will also include the participation of several of the athletes taking in the World Games.

The Cali’s Fair (Dec. 25 – Jan. 01) is the most important cultural event in Cali. It is a celebration of the region’s cultural identity.

The Cali Fair
“La Feria de Cali” is the main cultural event on the Pacific Coast of Colombia, and in the City of Cali which is 2 hours away from the Pacific Coast, and is home to almost 4 million people. The Fair has been celebrated since 1957, from December 25 to December 30, and it promotes cultural, ethnical, and musical diversity in the region. In a few occasions the Fair included Vallenato and Merengue groups from Colombian and surrounding Caribbean countries, and samba schools from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Also, the Fair is known as the “Feria de la Caña” (sugar cane fair) and “Feria de la salsa” (Salsa music fair). People enjoy many activities like an opening cabalgata (parade of horseback riders), tascas, salsa concerts, bullfights (which are under a legal dispute), parades, athletic activities/competitions and cultural exhibitions.

As the city’s people’s conscious grow towards a more animal friendly environment, there has been a lot of controversy for the part of the fair that involves bullfighting. Although, the majority of the city’s people see it as an act of cruelty and abuse towards the animals, the few that control and organize the event see it as part of a tradition and culture that should be maintained, resulting in a legal battle between animal rights’ groups and the event organizers.

From an international stand point Cali is also known as the “Capital de la Salsa” given the city’s infatuation with that type of Afro-Caribbean music. In early July there is the Summer Salsa Festival which lasts for one week. It usually includes concerts by the world’s great remaining salsa bands as well as dance shows and “melomano” competitions in which salsa connoisseurs try to out do each other by digging deep into the archives of salsa music and related sounds to find and reveal long lost tunes.

Photos of the 2011 Salsódromo