I was looking forward to my first carnival at Las Palmas and was not disappointed. While perhaps not as spectacular as the carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the Las Palmas Carnival nicely combined both the show and street party, with audience participation levels very high. It is also very accessible - if you want to, you can see all the events for free, get a good view of all the participants - including the carnival queen and dames, or even ride on one of the floats in the main parade - there are places for hire, I didn't realize it before.
The official events of the carnival are listed at the Las Palmas Carnival website. I believe the website is reasonably stable, but of course it might move. I am sure there will be a website though, the carnival is so important here.
The processions and the opening were at various locations around the city, and the competitions and galas at an open-air scene in Santa Catalina. All of the events were free, but for the most popular you have to be organized - the entrance to the Queen Gala was ticketed, for example. I didn't go to any of the seated events - sitting down in chilly evening air (and potentially rain) for a while didn't appeal. I like processions far more in any case, but if you feel like going to one of the shows, you have to find out in one of the tourist information places if you need a ticket and how to get one.
I went to see the opening and Main Parade, The Beach Parade, The Children Parade, Carnival at old town (Vegueta) and just a little bit of the "white carnival", or "los indianos" - didn't go in, coz I hadn't done any research and it appeared the main objective was to throw white powder at each other, and I was afraid for the lens on my camera. Next year I will borrow my son's camera - it is waterproof, so I guess a little bit of powder-throwing won't hurt it. Didn't go to the Entierro de la Sardina (sort of a closing ceremony, except there are some things that happen after the Burial) either, it was raining all day with piercing winds.
Carnival opening - Happened in front of Santa Ana Cathedral in Vegueta. Not much to look at, especially for me - I don't understand the lyrics of murgas, and, apart from speeches and a small parade, that was pretty much it, and quite a lot of people. Clown costumes were nice and colourful though.
Carnival at old town - daytime to evening event, exceptionally crowded because there was very little space. Many nice costumes and good atmosphere, shame about the gloomy weather.
Main Carnival Parade - In the evening, went along Leon y Castillo, starting from San Telmo - Fuente Luminosa to the Port. The dresses for the Queen of the Carnival and the Dames were assembled in front of the Theater, so basically two steps away from our house. It could well be they do it there every year - it's a handily open space close to the old town. The Queen also posed for the reporters there, still "in mufti", ie. without her queenly regalia.
This year, you could catch the Queen and the Dames either by the theater, or between San Telmo and Fuente Luminosa, where the head of the procession had assembled and stood still for a while before they started moving. You could also catch some nice pics when the parade was in motion, but it was trickier, as it was, well, in motion, plus it was getting darker.
The parade itself was colorful and the audience dressed up, especially kids.
Beach Carnival parade - Along the promenade of Las Canteras. The Carnival Queen and Dames didn't take part, nor the floats, but the huge advantages of this parade are its time and location. You can't beat a little african sun to add to the steamy atmosphere :)
Children Parade - my favourite. In the evening (unfortunately), from Castillo de la Luz to Santa Catalina, quite short route. Most of the kids in the audience were all dressed up :) There is also a queen and dames, everything the adult parade has. There is a pic overload here though, so if you check it out on the link below (to shutterstock)
The verdict - nice, definitely worth seeing at least one of the parades.
Carnival pics on shutterstock - here.