Torrevieja is Alicante's fastest growing city and each year throws a huge carnival to mark the end of winter.

Each February, the seaside city of Torrevieja on Spain's Costa Blanca kicks up its heels with a Brazilian-style carnival. The Torrevieja Carnival is very much a community event, with participants and revelers gathering from all sectors to burn off the last of their excesses before lent begins.

The Spanish take these celebrations seriously, so expect incredible choreography, outlandish fancy dress and elaborate floats. Last year's event featured a staggering 37 troupes with more than 1,500 participants. Thousands of spectators lined the route to cheer on the revelers. 

The celebrations officially start at the end of January with the crowning of the previous year's Torrevieja Carnival Queens. The main event is the first parade which will take place this year on Sunday the 7th of February. Departing at 4 p.m. from María Asunción Square, it winds its way through Calle Ramón Gallud and Calle Patricio Pérez. Upon reaching the Municipal Theatre, prizes are given out for the best floats and participants.

Ranging from toddlers in prams to energetic octogenarians, the Torrevieja Carnival parade is made up of different 'schools' or troupes, each organized around a chosen theme. Accompanied by their own music vans, they strut their stuff competing for valuable cash prizes. Last year, the pot totaled an impressive €9,000. As well as schools from Torreviaja, visiting troupes from nearby regions such as Murcia are also invited to take part. The parade is then repeated along the same route on the following Saturday (this year it falls on February 13), beginning slightly later at 10 p.m. There are no prizes for this second parade, and it's generally a more relaxed affair.

The Torrevieja Carnival also hosts a street musician competition, a Drag Queen competition and a children's competition.  

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