TIJUANA (Border Report) — Morelos Park is a large green space with carnival rides, a small zoo, large replicas of dinosaurs and a small open-air theater where clowns and mimes put on free performances for visitors.
But it comes at a cost to these performers, who are not happy about having to pay new fees when putting on shows at the city-owned facility.
Some performers say the fees are “excessive.”
That’s how Roberto, who claims he has been performing as a clown at the park for 33 years, described the new charges being levied.
According to the new fee scale imposed by the city of Tijuana, the cost is 360 pesos per performance, plus more than 415 for cleaning, and if someone performs after dark, an electric fee will also be charged. The charges add up to about $40.
Clowns like Miguel Angel Alvarado say because they work for tips, they might not make enough to cover the fee, especially on weekdays, when crowds tend to be smaller.
“As we came back after the pandemic and the park reopened, they began asking us about a new fee,” he said.
The city maintains the clowns and the other performers have always been asked to pay a fee.
“The space comes with a cost,” said Mercedes Puente, the city’s head of parks and other public facilities. “The fees cover the space, maintenance, security and cleaning costs.”
Puente said she and the performers have been talking and have reached an agreement. She said the city has decided to waive the cleaning fee provided the performers keep the area clean and maintain the small amphitheater where the shows take place.
Chicarito DiCaprio (that’s his stage name) says he and the other clowns have no problem doing that.
“We’ll take care of maintenance, keep the park clean, make sure everything is in working order,” he said.
But Alvarado says it’s still too much and that the city is making it harder for clowns to sell red noses, balloons and other items.
“We’re not in agreement, we’re paying too much and now they are taking away our ability to sell stuff,” he said.
Begrudgingly, Alvarado said most of the nine full-time clowns and mimes who perform at the park have agreed to pay out more to the city.
“If you don’t pay, nothing happens, except they won’t let you work,” he said.