Señorita Mexico Elsa Burgos wins Reina de la Costa Maya crown

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 32            August 22, 2002

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Señorita Mexico Elsa Burgos - Reina de la Costa Maya 2002
Miss Mexico wins Best National Costume award
Miss Guatemala wows the audience with her exotic costume
Becky Bernard depicts Belizean flag
Miss El Salvador recessives "Best Skin" award
Honduras representative depicts Mayan goddess

For the eleventh consecutive year the peace and harmony of the Mundo Maya countries reigned at the International Costa Maya Festival held on Ambergris Caye. From August 15th to 18th, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico once again came together to share and re-enforce their cultural and friendly ties at this spectacular event.

Mayor Alberto Nuñez and Deputy Mayoress Mel Spain welcome Johnny Lozado to San Pedro

    As anticipated, hundreds flocked to the festival grounds last Thursday to witness the selection of the Reina de la Costa Maya 2002-2003. Well worth the wait, the festival-goers were delighted by the beauty and elegance of the five delegates as they took center stage. Co-hosting this grand event was Puerto Rican singer/actor Johnny Lozada, accompanied by Reina de la Costa Maya 2000 Sandra Glower and Reina de la Costa Maya Belize representative 2001, Melina Diaz. Truly a must-see event, the beauty ambassadors first presented themselves during the parade of nations attired in their traditional cultural wear - a stunning affair. Next came the swimwear competition, followed by a dance presentation by the delegates and the talented dancers of the San Pedro Dance Company. The ladies then made a final appearance in their evening gowns and responded to questions from the co-conductors. Prior to the announcement of the new Reina de la Costa Maya, the reigning Costa Maya queen Miss Evelyn Lopez of Guatemala made a final appearance on stage expressing her gratitude to the organizers and wishing the Costa Maya Festival many more years of success. The difficult task of selecting the new Costa Maya queen fell into the able hands of a prestigious panel of judges consisting of Ceci Lara, Vicky Nelder, Rene Castañeda, Tom Vidrine and David Craig. Much to the delight of the attendees the judges awarded the title of Reina de la Costa Maya 2002-2003 to Señorita Mexico Elsa Burgos. Mexico's representative was also the winner of the Best National Costume Award. Guatemala's representative Miss Paula Alonso was named first runner-up. El Salvador's Pamela Portillo was awarded the prize for the Best Skin by Neutrogena.

Costa Maya beauties with Maribel Guardia

    On Friday afternoon a multitude of people gathered by the Maya Island Air terminal to welcome Costa Rican/Mexican television star Maribel Guardia to "La Isla Bonita." The friendly Latin beauty took time to sign some autographs for the many admirers who came out to salute her. She was then escorted to Ramon's Village where Area Representative Patty Arceo gave a welcome reception for the artist. Maribel once again wowed those privileged to meet her. A charming and pleasant lady, she greeted everyone individually at the cocktail party and even posed for pictures with her fans.

Headliner Maribel Guardia performs to a full house

    The festival continued on Friday evening with a grand cultural extravaganza. Present for the occasion were ambassadors from the five Mundo Maya countries and numerous other dignitaries. The stage came to life with the diverse cultures of these countries as the crowd was entertained by spectacular presentations courtesy of The San Pedro Dance Company, Barbara's Dance Group, the Ballet Folklorico del Instituto Tecnologico de Quintana Roo, Gary y su Grupo from Merida, Lico Vadelli from Guatemala, Ballet de la Universidad Nacional de El Salvador and Cuadro Nacional de Danzas Folkloricos de Honduras.

    On Saturday evening, the San Pedro Dance Company and Barbara's Dance Group once again set the mood to welcome entertainer Maribel Guardia on stage. Although it rained before the concert, this did not discourage the party-goers who were eager to see her show. Just before midnight the Mariachi Mexicanisimo 2000 made their appearance signaling that Maribel's performance would soon begin. Minutes later thunderous applause and never-ending camera flashes from the crowd greeted Maribel Guardia on stage. Wearing a very revealing cow skin outfit, Maribel Guardia flirted with the audience as she serenaded them with romantic ballads that had the crowd cheering for more. A truly unforgettable event, the Maribel Guardia concert was a huge success. Following her presentation, Belize's own Santino's Messengers entertained.

    On Sunday, the festival came to a close with a bodybuilding competition followed by a jump-up with Santino's Messengers.

    Once again the hard work and planning of the dedicated members of the Costa Maya Festival Committee paid off, as the event was indeed a success. Many thanks to the sponsors and all who attended this one-of-a-kind event in Belize. A BIG "Thumbs Up" to all those responsible for the 2002 Costa Maya Festival!
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