San Pedro Celebrates Belize's Independence Day!

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 15, No. 38            September 22, 2005

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Independence Day 2005 is one that goes down in history as one of the best. The eve of Independence Day was a spectacular one. It all began with participants setting up for the annual Barrier Reef Drive block party. Residents and tourists flocked to Front Street and began celebrating. Bars and restaurants lined the street, eagerly serving delighted patrons.

   The official ceremonies kicked off with the arrival of Norma Leticia Lara, Miss San Pedro 2005/06 accompanied by Deputy Mayor Severo Guerrero. Also accompanying the reigning queen were the San Pedro High School drummers, the San Pedro Dance Company and the torch bearers, who this year were teachers of the San Pedro Roman Catholic School. Mayor Elsa Paz and Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. then performed the official inspection of the Guard of Honor. The official countdown was started from 60, and the audience excitedly joined in. When the countdown reached one, the great flag of Belize was unfurled and Mayor Paz joined in the excitement with the official midnight grito, "Happy Independence Day Belize! And Happy Independence Day San Pedro! Long Live Belize!" The audience cheered loudly and excitement mounted as a sensational fireworks display followed. The sky was lit up in a kaleidoscope of magnificent colors, and young and old alike ooohed and aaahed. The organizers certainly outdid themselves this year, as the display was absolutely beautiful.

   After the official ceremonies were over, everyone rushed to the various booths that lined Barrier Reef Drive. Each booth had their own music, and Caliente, as usual, had a large gathering as they featured the band from Benque, Bass Impact. This crowd of young and talented singers held the crowd captive with their smooth moves and grooves. Several people had the opportunity to go up and dance and sing with them, winning a CD in the process. Everyone enjoyed themselves celebrating the 24th birthday of Belize until the wee hours of the morning.

   Then, on September 21st, a large gathering once again assembled at Central Park to keep the celebration going. After official ceremonies, including a speech from Mayor Paz, People's United Party (PUP) representative Eiden Salazar Jr., and Area Representative Honorable Heredia, the much anticipated parade got underway.

   Following the fire engine was a large enthusiastic bunch that formed the grand Independence Day Parade. Mayor Paz, Honorable Heredia and the councilors followed the fire engine. Miss San Pedro waved from her colorful float as the San Pedro Town Council staff followed shortly after her throwing candy to the crowds. The schools all looked amazing in their spotless uniforms, and children enthusiastically waved their flags as they marched through the streets. New Horizon's Academy had live music, as did the San Pedro High School (SPHS). SPHS had their marching band followed by the cheer leaders and uniformed students. A great feature was the live SPHS band jamming aboard a truck, while students in their phys-ed uniforms jumped up and danced down the streets of San Pedro. The "Everblazing" girls blazed the streets with their well choreographed dance moves. GAHB participated in this year's festivities as did the Islanders who took part in the Belize City September 10th parade. ABC Pre-school impressed everyone as usual with their fun and lively participation. Everyone wore toucan hats and their placards were beautiful and colorful. Councilor Mel Spain also took part in the parade with her very own enthusiastic group. The Belize Bank and Alliance Bank were very animated and danced through the main streets of La Isla Bonita. Reef Radio was also very colorful and seemed to enjoy every bit of the parade. All in all it was a long and beautiful parade.

   After the parade, a grand jump-up was held, with music provided by Barrington and the Islanders. A great game played, that was a first to San Pedro, was Cochinito Encebado. A young pig was brought into the pen and greased up with lard. A group of five men chased the pig around until someone managed to catch it. It was a fun sight to see the pig escape from the men's greasy hands, and the crowd cheered on. It was hard to tell who was the favorite, the men or the pig.

   Throughout the rest of the day, people ate, drank and were merry. It was another wonderful Independence Day celebrated in San Pedro. See you for Independence 2006!
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