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    Good Sh*t Fancy Dress Is Optional for This Cheese-Lover's Festival By Allison Yates OZY.com Why you should care Because these tasty S-shaped fritters are a ray of Panama sunshine. For most of the year, Dolega is a stopover for tourists heading to nearby Boquete or David. But for five days each January or February, the smell of frying dough overwhelms the fresh country air. Thousands head to this small town in Panama’s Chiriquí province for the Festival Folklórico Internacional del Almojábano con Queso to venerate regional, national and international dance, music and of course, the fried favorite, the almojábanos con queso. The fritters — often called almojábanos or almojábanas — are found in many parts of Latin America, but it’s the Panamanian version that brings an estimated 5,000 daily visitors. (For some, the 310-mile drive from Panama City is worth it.) Said to have originated in Chiriquí when peasants fused Spanish and indigenous ingredients, this variety differs in ingredients and shape. Cooks knead corn flour, add chunks of white cheese and a dash of salt and then roll the dough into a thick stick. Then they pinch the ends in opposite directions creating an S shape that mimics the outline of the map of Panama. Next, the dough is tossed into frying oil and kept still for a few minutes. As soon as they are firm on the outside, the almojábanos are ready to serve. Almojábanos are a staple in any traditional Panamanian breakfast, but during the festival, they’re consumed all day long. And the producers claim these are some of the best you’ll ever try. “The almojábanos at our festival are the most delicious in the whole country,” boasts Merardo Gante, a festival employee. Keithy Bernúdez, a former festival volunteer, says she eats almojábanos nearly every day of the year. She can’t put her finger on why they’re so mouthwatering — it might be the combination of the corn and cheese, or better yet “the love they [the cooks] put into making them,” she hypothesizes. Bernúdez isn’t alone in her love. To get a sense of just how many almojábanos con queso are sold at the festival, Seferino Miranda, almojábanos producer and owner of Productos Aineth, says that his business usually sells around 4,800 of the fritters daily. During the five days of the festival, he sells around 40,000, almost double an average five-day period. And he’s not the only supplier. The savory almojábanos are eaten hot: deliciously gooey on the inside with just enough crunch on the outside. Your obsession with the Panama-shaped savory snack will only grow when paired with tasajo (smoked beef) or eaten alongside sancocho, a traditional stew found in many Latin American countries. The queen of the festival travels in an ox-driven cart. Source Erick Castillo S. and Castillo Photography After filling your belly, you can then focus on the dancing and music competitions featuring performers from across Panama and Latin America, and even from as far as Romania. There are a fireworks show and a final parade, and every year a queen is crowned (unclear if her prize is a lifetime supply of almojábanos con queso). Folklore artist and festival founder José Armando Corella Rovira wants attendees to value culture. “For me, the most important part is to give my province and my country a firm cultural legacy and keep young people in positive things — and loving their folklore,” says Corella Rovira. But you can’t celebrate the culture of Chiriquí without its most famous bright yellow “S.” “The almojábanos are really important for the festival because it’s a typical vianda [food] exclusive to our province, and in honor of all the people who get up every day to prepare these almojábanos so they’re at the stores and supermarkets across the country,” explains Corella Rovira. It isn’t just about enjoying yourself and satisfying your need for ooey-gooey goodness; eating almojábanos con queso means preserving and honoring culture Go There: Festival Folklórico Internacional del Almojábano con Queso Location: The festival is held in Dolega, Chiriquí, Panama, in the “Recinto del Almojábano,” the basketball court behind the Dolega Health Center. From Panama City, you can bus to nearby David and take a local bus to Dolega, or by car head west on Highway 1 until David, then toward Dolega on Highway 41. Dates: Feb. 13–17. No entrance fee. Accommodations: There are several hotels and bed-and-breakfasts in Dolega for around $30 to $50 per night, or stay on the coast near David, Panama’s third-largest city, or inland in Boquete, both around 30 minutes from Dolega. Pro tip: Stay a few days in Boquete to tour coffee plantations, walk through forests and waterfalls and hike Volcan Baru. https://www.ozy.com/good-sht/fancy-dress-is-optional-for-this-cheese-lovers-festival/92325?fbclid=IwAR2EWdPJ72QKM-nLFnMs6pvAbQORNLbZ3npw9w_xq7FkzMh1lKW4jg1KOT4#
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    A special DAYTIME event with live music and great prizes benefiting the 2019 Boquete Jazz and Blues Festival. Live music featuring Adams Reach Band with special guest Mike Dennis on Piano and Vocals. Tickets available at Mailboxes, Etc.
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    Tickets available NOW for the 2019 Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival. The festival will start with the Garden Party on the grounds of the beautiful Finca Lerida on February 21, 2019, and will continue Friday through Sunday (February 22-24, 2019) in the intimate amphitheater in Valle Escondido Resort. Discounted 3-day passes, exclusive Fedora Club memberships, and Garden Party tickets are available online now. Single day tickets will be available at a later date. Visit www.boquetejazzandbluesfestival.com for additional information about the performers and schedule, and to purchase tickets. Don't delay...get your tickets TODAY!
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    Come join the fun as we pay tribute to prominent citizen of Panamá, Mr. Rodolfo Chiari, with great music, great food and an amazing silent auction benefiting the Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival. The event will be held at beautiful Finca Lerida, with shuttle transportation provided from Bajo Boquete. Stay tuned for more details!
  5. The excitement is building as we approach the 2018 Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival! We are just 7 weeks away from the “Biggest Little Festival in the World!” And now you can purchase your tickets to the Garden Party held on the grounds of the beautiful Hotel Finca Lerida Thursday, February 22, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Onsite/satellite parking. Shuttle buses will be available from Boquete. Featuring performances by Maria Rivas, Malamanya, and 2018 Grammy-nominated Dwayne Dopsie with his Zydeco Hellraisers, the Garden Party will also include a wonderful silent auction benefitting the Festival. Make plans now to attend this spectacular event to kick off the 2018 BJBF, and all the other exciting events over the four festival days! Tickets currently available online at https://www.mieventos.com/event-detail/2018bjbf. For additional Festival information, including schedule of events and performers, please visit www.boquetejazzandbluesfestival.com
  6. Only 22 days left to get your tickets to the 2018 Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival at the discounted rate! Prices increase January 1st so get yours TODAY, and be a part of this amazing festival featuring Spyro Gyra and Grammy-nominated Dwayne Dopsie! And to help with your ticket purchases, BJBF will have a representative at Inside Panama Real Estate, across from Big Daddy’s, starting next week. Office hours for December are Thursdays and Fridays, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Special thanks to Inside Panama for supporting the 2018 BJBF ticket office.
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    You won't want to miss a single minute of the amazing lineup for the 12th Annual Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival! Two stages with music, as well as art, food, and artisan crafts all conveniently located at the beautiful Feria de las Flores in Boquete. Early Bird Discount Tickets available online at https://www.mieventos.com/event-detail/2018bjbf Get your tickets now before the prices go up September 1st! Tickets also available at the Tuesday Market during the month of August for your convenience.
  8. With the 2018 Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival moving to the Feria, we have more room for vendors. If you have an artisan craft, product, or commercial business and would like to participate, please plan to attend an informational meeting at the fairgrounds THIS WEDNESDAY, 11/15 @ 10:00 a.m. Meet with the Vendor & Volunteer Coordinator, Eddie Pittman, at the business entrance at 10:00 to get all the information. The business entrance is the bright green building on Ave. Buenos Aires just past the main Feria "arched" entrance.
  9. Don't miss your chance to see several (many!) world-class blues and jazz musicians at the 2018 Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival at a highly discounted price. The 3-day ticket prices will increase on September 1st so get your tickets this week! Visit the BJBF table in the Hex Room during the Tuesday Market 8/22 & 8/29, or go online at www.mieventos.com/event-detail/2018bjbf. The performance schedule is being finalized. Individual day tickets will be available September 1st. Stay tuned!
  10. New venue and new events! View the newsletter for all the latest scoop! You won't want to miss this! http://mailchi.mp/32ef792ca236/heres-what-youve-been-waiting-for-all-the-news-about-bjbf2018
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    The 11th Boquete Jazz&Blues Festival is just around the corner! From Thursday, February 9 until Sunday, February 12 the Boquete valley will once again resonate with the sounds of first-class international and national musicians performing in the beautiful amphitheater of Valle Escondido. Check out the incredible line-up, the great musicians, the schedule, jam sessions and everything about festival tickets on the festival website: www.boquetejazzandbluesfestival.com Festival tickets are available for purchase online at http://www.boquetejazzandbluesfestival.com/the-ticket-page1.html Note: All VIP tickets have already sold out. Limited amounts of General admission tickets are still available. The Dinner show at the Rock on Wednesday has sold out. Jam Packages have sold out! The Thursday night Jam at Mike's has sold out. The Sunday night Jam at Mike's has sold out. Limited amounts of tickets for individual jams ar still available. Don't wait...get your tickets now! Note: INAC, the Panamanian cultural institute has recently elevated the Boquete festival to the status of being a Panamanian National Cultural Event!
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  13. An October tradition in Anton, the forty-seventh Festival del Toro Guapo, or handsome bull is celebrated. It's an activity aimed to highlight the traditions of the people of the area who are dedicated to farming activities and fishing where much of their folklore was born. These activities began on Thursday dedicated to children with oratory competitions, coronation of the queen of the children, Parade, folkloric presentations and contests in folk skills. The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Festival Nacional del Toro Guapo, stressed that each year the festival grows and therefore emphasis is placed on the involvement of young people and children, more than 60 delegations of the country folk involved and the more joining Antoneros to receive tourists and lovers of folklore during the five days of the fiesta http://www.prensa.com/fotogalerias/Festival-toro-guapo-Anton_5_4598590099.html#!photo=3
  14. Registration starts this Tuesday! Come and register and learn all you need to know to create a video! This is going to be a fun adventure!
  15. Sponsored by the Tourism Authority, the first annual Coffee Fest is being held in Panama this weekend at the Hard Rock Megapolis in Panama City
  16. until
    Tickets are available NOW at MBE, and will also be available at the door, for a donation of $10 to benefit the 2017 Boquete Jazz and Blues Festival. Casa Vieja and Stone Cabins will host with great food and great music with Yella Fever supporting a great event! Get your tickets today and plan to join the fun!
  17. Tickets are available NOW at Mail Boxes Etc. in Boquete for a donation of $10! Get yours today and enjoy some great food, great music and support a great event! Spread the word!
  18. Tickets are on sale NOW for the 2017 Boquete Jazz and Blues Festival. Special General Admission-Weekend pricing of $100 (plus tax & service fee) for BOQUETE RESIDENTS is available using this link and password. Limit 2 tickets. Get yours today as only 100 tickets are available at this special price! https://www.mieventos.com/event-detail/172 The password is... BJBF2017BR
  19. Tickets are on sale NOW for the 2017 Boquete Jazz and Blues Festival. Special General Admission-Weekend pricing of $100 (plus tax & service fee) for BOQUETE RESIDENTS is available using this link and password. Limit 2 tickets. Get yours today as only 100 tickets are available at this special price!The link is.... https://www.mieventos.com/event-detail/172 Password....BJBF2017BR
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    This is a placeholder event showing the overall dates for the 2016 Boquete Jazz and Blues Festival. For more details, visit: http://www.chiriqui.life/forum/100-boquete-jazz-and-blues-festival-bjbf/.
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