September 21st, Central Park was filled to
capacity with ecstatic citizens enjoying the nation’s 23rd
Independence. Residents of "La Isla Bonita" took pride in showing their
patriotism celebrating this year’s festivities. Many considered it as "one of
the best ever!"
San Pedro Town Council took time to plan a week full of activities for island
residents to enjoy. The events included a Social Studies Contest, a Spelling
Bee, a San Pedro Dance Company Extravaganza, and a Children’s Talent Show, all
leading to the block party held on the 20th.
Schools took part in the Spelling Bee with San Pedro Roman Catholic School
student Judith Azueta taking first place, and New Horizon Academy’s Pedro Ash
and Gabriella Miranda taking second and third place, respectively. In the Social
Studies Contest, Island Academy student Stefan Solorzano taking first place,
Lydia’s Institute of Fine Education student Irvin Pou winning second place, and
New Horizon Academy’s Gabriel Miranda taking third place. A well-attended Talent
Show featured songs, dances and skits all performed by island school children.
The following night, the Leon Coldero concert prompted everyone to their feet
with lively and upbeat music. Colors, music and well-choreographed moves were
displayed by the ever-entertaining San Pedro Dance Company, as well.
eve of Belize’s independence, Monday, September 20th the festivities
began on Front Street with the now popular Block Party. The entire length of
Barrier Reef Drive was blocked to vehicular traffic and was transformed into
"party central" with bars and restaurants aiming to serve the enormous crowds.
Business establishments from around the island temporarily "camped" on the
street supplying locals and visitors with cold drinks and tasty treats, "bocas"
and meals. Prior to the official ceremonies, local dance groups entertained the
flock of people gathered at Central Park for the countdown of Belize’s
San Pedro 2004-2005 Roxanna Bradley arrived at Central Park, joined by the
lovely young ladies of the San Pedro Dance Company. The large crowd then
witnessed the arrival of Mayor Elsa Paz and the San Pedro Town Councilors,
followed by Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr., and local Justices of the
Peace and Commissioners of the Supreme Court. Just minutes before midnight, The
Belize Defense Force made its grand entrance. Mayor Paz and Area Representative
Heredia then performed an official inspection of the Guard of Honor before the
raising of the Belizean flag as the national anthem was played. Mayor Paz then
took center stage and announced the 23rd anniversary of Belize’s
independence. Thunderous applause and loud cheers followed the tune of "Que Viva
Belice" (long live Belize) as amazing, breathtaking and colorful fireworks,
provided by Barry Bowen illuminated the sky. Belizeans once again celebrated
their independence from Britain as the party resumed on Barrier Reef Drive until
the wee hours of the morning.
afternoon, the festivities continued as Mayor Paz, Area Representative Manuel
Heredia Jr. and People’s United Party Representative, Patty Arceo, held a short
ceremony at Central Park where various speeches were given. It was then jump-up
time through the main streets of San Pedro as the Grand Parade began. Numerous
groups and floats joined in the celebration with colorful costumes and
participants filled with patriotic spirit. St. Peter’s Primary and High School
won first place and a prize of $400. Second place went to Isla Bonita Elementary
with a cash prize of $250, with third place going to The Ambergris Jade Museum,
who won $150 cash. In the Best Organized Group category, ABC Pre-School took
first place with a prize of $350, second place went to Mel & Mel’s Group who
won $250 cash, and third place was won by San Pedro High School with a $100 cash
prize. Loud cheers and festive music echoed throughout the streets of San Pedro
Town as celebrations went on all day long.
"thumbs up" to the San Pedro Town Council, the organizers, sponsors and
participants for making this year’s September Celebrations a grand success!