La Antigua Masquerade Ball

La Antigua’s Venetian-style Masquerade Ball continues for its third year!

After two successful and fun years, the La Antigua Masquerade Ball will take place again on Friday, February 17th from 6-11 PM at San Jose el Viejo. “When I first came to La Antigua and saw the ruins I thought, ‘Wow, they are so magical! What a wonderful place for classy and elegant cultural events!’” reminisced Gabi Altman. “So, I am so appreciative of Lyne Bissonnette for starting the ball in La Antigua and for graciously passing the organization of the event on to Mona Rose and me so we can continue this wonderful tradition.”

Originally, the masquerade ball in Venice gave the people an opportunity to celebrate and indulge on Mardi Gras before the start of Lent. The masquerade allowed Venetians to enjoy themselves without the social barriers that normally separated people. The first costumes were simple and based on characters from the Commedia dell’Arte, and, along with the masks, gave the revelers anonymity and the ability to mingle with people they normally would not have had the opportunity to meet. Not surprisingly, many couples met, fell in love,  and married shortly after the event. Not that we’ll be seeing an increase of matrimony in La Antigua, but one never knows; after all, wearing a costume and mask allows you to be a little more outgoing, a little more flirtatious. “What I love about this event is that you lose yourself in a different world: in a different time, a different space! You really forget where you are,” says Mona with a smile.

Over time, the costumes of the Venetian Ball have become increasingly extravagant. And since this is one of the most exciting parts of the event, guests are encouraged to fully participate. At the La Antigua Masquerade Ball, costumes have ranged from the spectacular and traditional to the mysterious and romantic. As a costume designer herself, Mona explains, “It’s not Halloween; it’s a Venetian style ball.” The dress code will be costumes fitting the theme, or elegant semi-formal to formal dress, and of course, a Venetian style mask is required to enter the Masquerade Ball! “You’re incognito! Nobody knows who you are. It’s very mysterious with everyone under a mask, and full of fantasy inspired by the nobles who used to dance in the royal courts,” adds Gabi.

If you’re wondering where you’ll be able to find a costume, you can contact Mona for beautiful custom-made masks. Another option, if you’re creatively inclined, is to visit the paca – an area at the back of the local market – where you can find a plethora of costume-making materials, from used bridesmaid’s gowns to yards of old curtains which can be transformed into an extravagant outfit. There will also be some costumes and masks on display at the ball, which will be available for purchase as a last-minute option.
While seeing everyone in their costumes and masks is certainly an element that contributes highly to the intrigue and entertainment of the evening, there will also be music and other entertainment. This year’s ball will, without doubt, prove to be a lively and exciting event, one that Gabi hopes will continue to grow with each coming year.

Don’t miss out on this amazing La Antigua tradition; get your tickets soon! Included in the ticket price (Q300 per person) will be a drink and hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, and music for dancing. Tickets can be purchased at Qué Pasa (Map J2) and Cargo Room (7832-2200), Joyería Del Ángel (7832-3189), Joe’s Grill (7934-6623), and Porta Hotel Antigua (7931-0600).

The proceeds from the event (the raffle and art auction) will go to World Help’s project Operation Baby Rescue.

The La Antigua Masquerade Ball will be held on Friday, February 17th from 6 PM to 11 PM at Las Ruinas de San Jose el Viejo (5a Avenida Sur and 8a Calle Poniente, next to Porta Hotel Antigua).
For more information: 5722-0113, 4185-4032 or

To purchase a beautifully crafted, Venetian-style mask, visit or call 4185-4032.

Photos by Mona Rose and Victor González

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