El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro - the tradition continues!

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 6            February 14, 2002

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Lion members depict the "Gorilla Dance"

"We travel to Ambergris Caye specifically to be here for Carnaval," a couple of painted American tourists told the San Pedro Sun. "Let the tradition continue" (Y que siga la tradicion) was this year's theme, and the tradition certainly came alive at the 2002 El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro. Scores of children, youth and the "young at heart" formed a colorful mosaic on the streets of the island as they celebrated with much glee "los tres dias de carnaval," the three days of carnaval.
The San Pedro Dance Company showcased some of the most elaborate costumes

    The celebration began one day earlier this year, as the carnaval committee headed by Omar Arceo and Lily Nuñez kick-off the festivities with a grand parade and block party on Saturday afternoon. It seemed as though Mardi Gras visited the island as both locals and tourists lined the main streets of San Pedro to witness the parade. Led by the island's ambassadors, Miss San Pedro Dilcia Trejo, Miss Garifuna Ella Carr and the reigning Miss Carnaval Sofia Guerra, this bevy of beauties paved the way for the masqueraders and their "bands". One popular parade group was the ever-ornate and flashy ABC Pre-School band who were "sizzling hot" as they portrayed the theme "Putting the spark on education."
ABC Pre-school was "sizzling hot" for Carnaval

The Recycled Teenagers charmed the audience with their dances

    Another crowd favorite was the ever-colorful and entertaining dance groups featuring the "Recycled Teenagers". Also participating were the San Pedro High School marching band and pom-pom girls, Maestro Reyes School of Knowledge, St. Peter's Elementary, Barbara's Dance Group, the San Pedro Dance Company, and the San Pedro Roman Catholic School.

    Following the parade, a special show was held at Central Park. Entertainment was provided by the San Pedro Dance Company and the Recycled Teenagers who stole the show and the applause of the public. One group of the "Recycled Teenagers" danced to the popular Shakira song "Whenever Wherever" while the other group opted for a Latin beat as they perfected their dance moves to the song "Mayonesa".

Danielita enjoys Carnaval

    Making a special appearance during this part of the show were the "dancing duo" Wil Alamilla Jr. and Manuel Ancona Jr. These two performances combined the icing on the cake and when the crowd requested an encore, the dancers were happy to oblige. As the evening went on things only got better as the "block party" officially began. Like bees on a honeycomb, party-goers swarmed "en masse" to support this event. Establishments such as Big Daddy's, Barefoot Iguana, the San Pedro Darts Association, the Recycled Teenagers and San Pedro Lions Club entertained those who came out to have a good time. Each booth offered some unique and tasty treat to attract customers. Others, like the San Pedro Lions Club used the "tantalizing tunes" of the Rompe Raja group and the melodious merry-making of the Guerrero Brothers (Severo and Ramon) to round up the crowd.
Painting is a big part of Carnaval

    For three days, bright colors adorned the faces and bodies of the locals, and an occasional tourist, as they continued the tradition of painting each other with water-based paint, soot and sometimes lipstick; a tradition unique to San Pedro. The comparsas (ethnic street dancing) added a more cultural side to the celebrations. The San Pedro Lions Club proved that the "carnaval spirit" as well as the "Lions spirit" was abundant as they danced all three days. Depicting Hawaiians on Sunday, Hippies on Monday and the dance of the Gorilla on Tuesday, this group walked away with the first prize for the Best Comparsa. Second prize went to the always entertaining "Barbies".

    Carnaval enthusiasts enjoyed four days of celebrating to the "max" ending Tuesday evening with a Painted Persons Parade and "jump-up" at Central Park. Exhausted but elated they retired to their homes filled with memories of the great fun they experienced during "El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro 2002."

Many joined the Lions during the block party

The Lions club depicted "Hawaiians" during one of their comparsas

"Los Barbies" delighted everyone with their "sense of style"

The San Pedro Lions portrayed "hippies" on the second day of Carnaval

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