Que Viva el Carnaval de San Pedro!

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 9            March 1, 2001

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-The sexy participants of Salsa Caliente performed with a "Bang"!

Move aside Rio de Janeiro and make way for "El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro." This popular celebration is a tradition of fun and a signature event for this community. Carnaval 2001 introduced one of the largest and most colorful parades ever seen on this island bringing this celebration to new heights. Literally hundreds of spectators from all areas of the island came out to witness this spectacular sight that involved a wide variety of participants.

ABC Pre-school "reaching for the sky"
Salsa Caliente shake "La Pollera Colorada"
Painting is a fun tradition at Carnival
Miss Carnival 2001 Sofia Guerra, Grand Marshal of the parade
High School Students also join in the street comparsas
Leading the parade was Miss Carnival 2001, Sofia Guerra who was also the Grand Marshal for the event. Fourteen dynamic Carnival Bands (parade groups) made up the almost three-block-long parade. Glitters, color and pizzazz were the order of the day and the vibrant masqueraders certainly had all that and more. As the group made their way through the main streets of San Pedro they ignited the town with their positive energy bringing never-ending smiles to a most receptive audience lining the streets to view the parade.

    The participants then gathered at Central Park where the fun continued as individual bands made stage presentations and vied for the grand prize of $1000. Prizes for the competition were divided into two age groups; Junior and Senior. Having seen the groups endure a 2 hour parade it was questioned whether the participants would have any energy remaining after dancing through the streets of the town. But for these groups it was all about the fun and entertainment. All stage presentations were worthy of prizes but unfortunately in competitions of this kind only one can win. The task of making the final decision lay in the capable hands of three individuals who have had extensive knowledge in this area of judging, Jenny Woods, Mervin Bennett and Eloim Ellis. In the Junior category the judges voted ABC Pre-School as the top band in this division and Isla Bonita Elementary as the second prize winner. In the Senior category the San Pedro Dance Company won first prize and the popular Salsa Caliente (Recycled Teenagers) the second prize. Salsa Caliente was especially entertaining and showed the true spirit of carnaval with their participation.

    Mention must be made of the mastermind behind all this planning, Mrs. Lily Nuñez. Lily worked tirelessly to make sure that all proper measures were taken to ensure a successful carnival. Working with her committee and the San Pedro Town Council, Lily managed to organize the carnival fair and popularity contest, the grand parade, dance shows and the grand finale on Tuesday. Congratulations Lily, your work was both admirable and appreciated, and carnival a huge success.

    The residents of San Pedro continue to revive a tradition of fun by celebrating carnival. On Sunday, the children and youth of the island enjoyed painting each other, as is customary. The San Pedro Lions Club once again came out with their amusing comparsas (street dancing), this year depicting the Chinese community on Sunday, Pirates on Monday, saving the best for last. On Tuesday, the San Pedro Lions Club depicted "Cero en Conducta" (La escuelita de Jorge), a hilarious Mexican sitcom showcasing a group of mischievous students. The Garifuna community also made their presence for carnival, joining the parade and the street comparasas, as did a small group of San Pedro High School students and the ever-popular "Barbies." A dance presentation by the local dance groups at Central Park  also brought out a large crowd to enjoy the talent of these young entertainers.

    On Fat Tuesday, San Pedro bid farewell to carnival with a painted participants parade and an awards ceremony. The San Pedro Lions Club was voted the overall winner of the comparsas for their three-day participation while second place went to the the San Pedro High School student comparsa.

    "Que Viva el Carnaval de San Pedro!" Long live the Carnival of San Pedro and the people who work tirelessly to keep this tradition alive.

First Prize Winners, The San Pedro Dance Company add pizzazz to the Carnival parade
Salsa Caliente performs to "La Vida es un Carnaval".
Lions Club took first place as best comparsa

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