San Pedro celebrates Independence

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 35            September 25, 2003

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The Survivors "lively-up" the Independence Day Parade

The streets of San Pedro were littered with patriotic Belizeans and visitors this weekend as throngs of people came out to celebrate Belize's 22nd anniversary of independence. The San Pedro Town Council and the entire community of "La Isla Bonita" came together with enthusiastic demonstrations of Belizean pride.

     Described as "The best ever!" the festivities started off with a bang on the eve of Belize's independence, Saturday, September 20th. A huge block party transformed Barrier Reef Drive into one big bash complete with drinks, food, and music provided by several local businesses. Prior to the official ceremonies, the San Pedro High School marching band gave a fine performance, parading through the streets with energetic cheerleaders in tow. The San Pedro Boy Scouts followed with torches to light the way into Central Park. A spirited crowd filled the park in anticipation of the scheduled activities. Entertaining performances by the talented members of the San Pedro Dance Company delighted the spectators until the local dignitaries arrived. Next, Miss San Pedro 2003-2004, Tatiana Rivero and her escort Deputy Mayor Severo Guerrero, Mayoress Elsa Paz and the San Pedro Town Councilors, Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr., Justices and Senior Justices of the Peace, and Commissioners of the Supreme Court witnessed the grand entrance of the Belize Defense Force. The Mayoress and Area Representative then performed an official inspection of the Guard of Honor, prior to the raising of the Belize flag. At midnight, Mayoress Paz welcomed in the 22nd anniversary of Belize's independence to triumphant applause.

    At this point in the evening, a brilliant array of breathtaking fireworks illuminated the skies to culminate the official ceremonies. Several spectators commented that this year's fireworks were more spectacular than ever before. To everyone's delight, the fireworks were ignited just off shore, aboard the Caribbean Queen barge, allowing for many more people to enjoy the sparkling extravaganza from a safer distance. The partying resumed with fervor after this event and lasted into the wee hours of Independence Day.

   During the Grand Independence Day Parade on Sunday afternoon, a variety of local organizations, businesses and social groups exhibited their patriotism throughout the main streets of San Pedro. The merriment continued with an all day "jump up" and beach party - a perfect way to honor freedom and Belize's independence - "Proud and Strong at 22."
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