Reef Festival 2001 - A perfect day!

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 18            May 10, 2001

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Local children had an especially fun day at the Festival

Sun, sand and sea were the order of the day last Sunday, as hundreds of people gathered at Mar de Tumbo beach for the 5th Annual Reef Festival. The impressive turn out was a clear indication of the local support for Green Reef's motto of conserving Belize's marine and coastal resources. A picture-perfect day blessed "Our Island's Treasures" - the theme of this year's festival.

    The Reef Festival once again served its purpose of educating the general public about the importance of preserving our natural resources. The various schools of the island presented unique models and displays based on the festival's theme, in addition to displays by Hol Chan Marine Reserve.  Of course the festival would not be complete without the touch tank, where children and adults were able to experience "hands-on" some of the magnificent creatures that inhabit our majestic barrier reef. Especially entertained were the children with a variety of fun games, races, sand sculpting, glass bottom boat trips and much more. Another "hot" activity was the beach volleyball tournament where many groups displayed their athletic techniques in an effort to win the title of "Volleyball Masters." The San Pedro Lions Club was also present selling rice and beans and pastries while the festival committee was ever-busy "barbecuing the day away." Master of Ceremonies Ernesto "Nasa" Caliz kept the crowd entertained, as did the talented dancers of San Pedro Dance Company. Souvenir T-shirts were on sale as a memento of this wonderful occasion.

The San Pedro Dance Company performs at the Reef Festival

    Before the day was over, judges handed in their decision for best banner and display. The winners were: Best Banner - first place - Little Angel's Pre-School, second place - Maestro Reyes School of Knowledge and third place - San Pedro High School. Best Display - first place - San Pedro High School, second place - Lydia's Institute of Fine Education and third place - Island Academy.

    In addition, Green Reef's Art Festival was held from April 27th to May 5th where local artists showcased their talents with 10% of their sales donated to Green Reef. Other scheduled activities were held on Saturday, May 5th leading up to the Reef Festival, including a 10-Mile Kayak Race won by "Pam and Tom" who courageously kayaked all the way to Journey's End Resort taking first prize. The Hobi Cat Senior race was won by Johnny Grief III, while Daniel Estel won in the Junior category. A Reef Party at Barefoot Iguana Disco was also enjoyed by many. 

     Guillermo "Mito" Paz, Green Reef President told the San Pedro Sun, "The Reef Festival is an organized event for people to have good, clean fun and this year's event certainly proved that. I commend all the volunteers, sponsors and the general public who have embraced this celebration of our natural resources and for making this year's festival one of the best. I have to acknowledge volunteers Jill Hepp and Dan Ellison who worked tirelessly to put the festival together. I would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the sponsors, especially St. Matthew's University, our main sponsor."

    The organizers would like to take this opportunity to mention the following volunteers and sponsors: Lily Paz, Catherine Paz, Alejandro Paz, Melanie Paz, Mel Spain, Leo Lopez, Mario Godoy, Mike Estel, Lalo Tolosa, Heider, Victor Alegria, Amir Hegar, Patrick and Catherine Roches, Cliff Kirk, Dan Ellison, Nasa, Reef Radio, Dr. Jeff Sersland, Carolyn Price, Manuel Pech, Southern Beauty Glass Bottom Boat, Amigos del Mar, Sherwin, Hector Duran, Mundo Castillo, Mona Acosta, Changa Paz, Rod Rivero, St. Matthew's University, San Pedro Distributors, San Pedro Town Council, BC's Bar & Grill, Holiday Hotel, Ramon's, Basil Jones, TMM, Tropic Air, Belize Bank, Atlantic Bank, Alex Halliday, Victoria House, Caminantes, Tropica, Marina, Island Supermarket, Popular Store, Belicolor, Hector Salazar, JamBel, Luis "The Chef", San Pedro Dance Company, San Pedro R. C. School, LIFE, New Horizons Academy, San Pedro High School, Island Academy, Little Angel's Pre-School, Isla Bonita School, Maestro Reyes School of Knowledge, St. Peter's Elementary and the San Pedro Sun.

    Thumbs up to Mito, Catherine, Jill, Dan and the Green Reef Festival Committee for creating a spectacular day of appreciation for our most precious barrier reef.
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