The crowd went wild at the performance of the headliner act, Los Ilegales of the Dominican Republic

Saturday, August 23

Belizeans from all over stormed San Pedro to be a part of Belize Night at the 6th Sea & Air Festival. The evening got off the an early start and despite a short power outage, performing stars shone bright.

Belize's Leomar Dancers

Mistress of Ceremonies was the ever entertaining, Lauren Burgess. The Xaibe Dance group from Corozal, the first entertainers of the evening, displayed the vibrant culture of their Mayan ancestors and were followed by the Leomar Dancers of Belize who presented Creole and Garifuna cultural dances.

The San Pedro High School Band, did San Pedro proud, with eminently talented young people and great musical hits they had the energized crowd on their feet and dancing early in the evening. Santino's Messengers and Andy Palacio followed with a superb line of soca hits and original punta music. Santino's Messengers and Andy Palacio participated in the festival through the kind courtesy and sponsorship of the Belize Tourist Board. A little after midnight Los Ilegales entered the festival grounds and were greeted by a crowd of screaming fans. "Iligales! Ilegales!" the crowd shouted, until the four illegals, in a puff of smoke and under a kaleidoscope of colored lights, invaded the stage. Ilegales performed for a little over an hour; their techno-merengue type selections had the crowd bobbing up and down. Screaming girls pushed closer to the stage hoping that one of the Illegals would touch their hand or blow a kiss at them. Miss Costa Maya International Carol Aquino, Miss Belize Gaylene Desiree Dawson and Miss El Salvador Angela Maria Rodriguez danced on stage with the four entertainers. Ilegales will surely be remembered for a long time here in Belize; with their flexing hips, hyperactive shenanigans and bare chests they made the 1997 Sea & Air Festival a success. Los Ilegales were partially sponsored by American Airlines. Santino's Messengers and Andy Palacio entertained the crowd until 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning and brought Belize Night to an unforgettable closure.

And an additional report on Saturday night emailed by Dorian Nuñez who returned to school in Kansas on Sunday:

"Belize Night:

Vladimir, Rafael, Anthony and Jason "!LOS ILEGALES!" WOW! Saturday night/Belize night literally exploded with San Pedro's most attended event. The Festival grounds seemed to be overflowing with an approximation of about 4,000 people. The gates had to be closed for the grounds could not hold any more people.

Hundreds of people gathered at the festival grounds from all over the country as San Pedro Town and the International Sea and Air Festival hosted one of the hottest line-up of performers on Saturday, August 23. Lauren Burges from Belize City was the Mistress of Ceremonies for the night. First on stage were the Xaibe Cultural Dance Group and the Leomar Dance Group respectively. They performed traditional and typical Mayan and Creole dances, depicting two very significant cultures that make up Belize.

Dancers of Belize

The New Combination Band was a definite hit, especially among the younger crowd who always follow the band wherever they perform. The audience enjoyed their variety of music but unfortunately, due to a tight schedule, they could only perform for half an hour. Santino's Messanger, along with Andy Palacio, also created quite a stir in the crowd as people got up to dance.

Tension and total excitement started to rise an hour before the main performance was to take place. The fans crowded in front of the stage area waiting impatiently - Los Ilegales were on their way to the Festival Grounds. They were picked up by boat at the Essene Way, where they stayed and transported to the grounds under tight security. By then hundreds of screaming people were ready. Boom!"La Fiesta" (also their opening song) had begun. The Ilegales put on one of the best performances ever seen by locals and tourists in the country. No one paid attention to the pushing and shoving and the tremendous heat that was felt. Total attention was on the four Santo Dominican boys who were the leading factor of the Festival's success. Reports even came from San Pablo that the screaming cheers of the contented ladies could be heard all the way from the grounds. The show took about an hour and a half and then the Ilegales had to leave. Vladimir, Anthony and Rafael arrived in San Pedro on Friday and were given a tour of the town on golf cart. On Saturday during the day Dorian Nuñez of The San Pedro Sun had the opportunity to accompany the three guys on a river tour to Altun Ha and a swim with the sharks and rays on the reef. Los Ilegales and their managers were amazed by the beauty that Belize has to offer. They expressed their joy in being at La Isla Bonita and commented that this was their first experience in a place like San Pedro. Only two of them were brave enough to encounter the sharks in the water. "This is an experience of a life time," commented Anthony. "I had to go swimming with these creatures or I would have not had another chance to do so." The crowd was more than contented with the show. Santino's Messengers performed again after Los Illegales and closed the night at 3 o'clock."

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