Costa Maya Festival - to be or not to be?

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 20            May 18, 2000

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The question arose at the first meeting of the Costa Maya Committee last Thursday evening of whether to hold a Costa Maya Festival this year. Although it is believed that San Pedro benefits greatly from this annual event, a lack of enthusiasm has been noticed from some local businesses when it comes to their aid. The first few years of the festival were profitable and enabled future events to take place and better attractions to be scheduled each time. The last few years have not been so successful though, due to the amount of sponsorship offered. There remains several outstanding bills from last year although the loan has been paid for the previous year's festival.

    Sorely lacking is corporate sponsorship. Social Security, Belize Telecommunications Ltd. and Water and Sewerage Authority have been solicited in past years and have declined, though all reap a profit from the festival. Ironically, one of the outstanding financials from last year is the phone bill, which will need to be paid to enable this committee with a phone line. Belize Electricity Ltd., for the first time last year, gave a washing machine for a door prize and a small financial donation. Discussed was that some companies insist on having the monopoly for their product each year as part of their sponsorship and then place severe restrictions on pricing and donations as well. It was therefore decided to open up the bidding to as many businesses as possible and see what the outcome would be. A solid decision to hold the festival will be based on the response from solicitation in the early weeks of the committee's work. They are asking for as much support as possible from the community in this regard, in either sponsorship, donations or their aid in the solicitation of others.

    If the festival is to take place, the dates will be August 15th - 21st. To help raise initial funds, a Grand Raffle will take place with the Grand Prize being a choice of a lot with house, facilitated from the Belize Rural South office, or $25,000 cash. It was suggested the cash prize will gain additional international appeal of purchasers. The second place winner will win $1000 while third and fourth place winners receive a round trip ticket from Belize to Houston/Belize to Dallas. Fifth prize is $500. Tickets will be sold for $10 from selected agents only.    

    Further discussion focused on switching Belize to Tuesday's opening night to alleviate the hardship of delegates coming out for more than one evening. Also mentioned was the possibility of the band Sentidos Opuestos from Mexico to perform.

    In the meantime, the committee will be busy looking for potential sponsors and will schedule a meeting in a few weeks for further decisions. For more information on sponsoring the festival or to aid the committee in any other way,  please call 2180.
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