Thank you, San Pedro, for another successful Reef Festival

Only in San Pedro would the community come out in full force (and in the rain!) to support a worthy cause, such as the Reef Festival. Last Sunday at Mar De Tumbo Beach, the 4th Annual Reef Festival took place and was an overwhelming success due in large part to community support. This week, we at Green Reef, would like to dedicate Reef Brief to all those who donated their time, energy and resources to help us in our cause to increase environmental awareness of Belize's ecosystems.

The theme of the festival was "Our Reef, Our Livelihood, Our Future," and with this in mind, Green Reef, Hol Chan Marine Reserve and local schools created educational posters and exhibits that were displayed at the festival. As always, local schools impressed everyone with their original and imaginative displays, simulating the coastal environment of Belize using such materials as paper mache, cardboard and hair gel. After much consideration it was decided that the winners of the reef display competition were: first prize to L.I.F.E. (Std. I), second prize to L.I.F.E. (Infant I) and third prize to Island Academy. The winners were awarded with trophies and videos, generously donated by Ron Herring and Joe Miller, respectively. Other donations from Mary Beissner and the San Pedro Tour Guide Association were also much appreciated. Green Reef would like to thank all schools, as well as judges, who participated in this year's festival.

In keeping with the theme, many children and adults learned about Belize's rich coastal environment through trips to the reef in the glass-bottom Southern Beauty, thanks to Norman Eiley. In addition, one of the biggest attractions of the festival was the touch tank, graciously provided by Amigos del Mar Dive Shop, which contained creatures such as sea stars, urchins and sea cucumbers.

Other activities of the Festival included dancing provided by the San Pedro Dance Company, as well as various games and contests. Green Reef would like to sincerely thank the San Pedro Dance Company and the San Pedro Town Council. Pedro "Jimbo" Vasquez and his employees set up tables and chairs, as well as coordinated all activities including volleyball, tug-of-war and sack races. Sea Turtle Gift Shop, Island Vibes, Salty Dog, San Pedro Super Market and Island Super Market generously provided prizes for the activities.

Reef Brief is a weekly column published in the San Pedro Sun

No festival would be complete without delicious food and beverages. Green Reef would like to thank all of those involved in providing and serving food and drinks such as Susana and Norman Eiley, Catherine Paz, Lolita (of St. Matthew's), Abel, Lalo, Fernando Perez, Mario, "Cindi", Elvi's Kitchen, Holiday Hotel, Tropical Take-out and members of the Lions Club. Additionally, we at Green Reef would like to extend our appreciation to San Pedro Distributors and Travellers Liquors for providing tents and rum, respectively.

Last, but not least, Green Reef would like to thank Tropic Air and Reef Tours for sponsoring the festival. In addition, Green Reef would like to acknowledge Ernesto "Nasa" Caliz for acting as Master of Ceremonies for the festival and for lending his extensive shell display, as well as Reef Radio for providing music and broadcasting the event. In addition, there is no doubt that word of the festival would not have spread without the help of the San Pedro Sun, Reef Radio and Coral Cable Vision.

Clearly, the Reef Festival could not have been a success without the help of the San Pedro community, who have consistently shown their dedication to environmental conservation. We at Green Reef hope that all future Reef Festivals can be as successful as this past one! Thank you!

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