Carnaval 2005 – Our tradition lives on

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 15, No. 6            February 10, 2005

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Speculation surrounded Carnaval this year as people wondered whether the tradition would take place considering everything happening in Belize at this time. Many were afraid that the country's financial state would obscure this year's celebrations but once again local residents made sure that the island tradition continued.

    The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) had a schedule of activities planned for the last day of Carnaval, which had many anticipating the final hours of this annual tradition. A few weeks prior to the start of the festivities, Mayor Elsa Paz, along with Public Relations Officer for SPTC Felix Ayuso invited schools and the public in general to participate in this year's comparsas (ethnic street dancing). Amazing prizes were announced which only made others more excited to see what was in store for this year's Carnaval.

    Carnaval 2005 officially kicked off with a grand concert by Super G and the New Rebels at Central Park. It was a fun night filled with punta beats, and people showing off their best punta moves.

    Officially opened, hundreds of children, youths and the “young at heart” colored the island in a kaleidoscope of color, as they joyfully celebrated the three days of carnaval with festive spirits. Bright colors adorned the faces and bodies of the locals as well, as the occasional tourists, as they continued the tradition of painting each other with water-based paint, soot and sometimes lipstick - a custom unique to San Pedro. The comparsas added a more cultural side to the celebrations. All these key ingredients made for a spectacular Carnaval for all to enjoy.

    As much as Carnaval is a tradition of San Pedro, so is the San Pedro Lions Club's participation. Like always, they presented comical, colorful and amazing comparsas in the name of charity. Lydia's Institute of Fine Education (LIFE) participated in this year's festivities with delightful comparsas depicting ninjas, and geishas. San Pedro Roman Catholic School portrayed fishermen while Mrs. Flora Ancona's “posse” enchanted crowds with their show-stopping acts portraying cartoon characters such as the Little Mermaid, Daffy Duck, Princesses and Sponge Bob.

    On Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Elsa Paz, Area Representative Manuel Heredia Jr., and the councilors took to the streets to hand out Carnaval beads and to spread festive joy to all. Caliente Restaurant filled everybody's tummies with their delicious tacos, hors' devours and tasty treats along with cold beers and refreshments.

    For the final hour of Carnaval, enthusiasts gathered at Central Park to hear the announcements on the winners. First place and $1,200 went to the Lyons. Second place and $900 went to Mrs. Flora's Posse, and LIFE took first place in the school category along with $500. Second place went to SPRCS with $300 and third place and $100 went to Isla Bonita.

    It was a dazzling and spectacular Carnaval where everyone enjoyed three days of celebration and surprises to the “max”. Exhausted but elated street revelers retired to their homes filled with memories of the great fun they experienced during Carnaval 2005!
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