Commemorating 26 years of Belize’s freedom

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 17, No. 38            September 27, 2007

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As always, the organization of Wil Alamilla’s ABC Pre-School crowd just gets better and better, and this year, they take home top place for Most Organized Group. Congrats to all participants!

1st Place Float Winner: Marina’s Store with their depiction of the Maya.

2nd Place Float Winner: Ambergris Elementary School’s “Boom and Chime” Float.

San Pedro High School won 2nd Place for Most Organized Group.

The September celebrations have come and gone, and it is no doubt that this year’s celebration will go down in the history books as one to remember. 2007 is a special year for Belizeans: it marks the 231st and 26th anniversaries, respectively, of the birth of our independent democracies. The most striking aspect of Belize Independence celebrations has been the ubiquity of three colors – white, red and blue. Thousands of Belizeans across the country turned out in ideal Belizean weather to witness the official ceremony and to participate in the customary Independence Parade. In San Pedro, things were no different as everyone got into the festive moods and showcased much patriotism and pride as we celebrated the 26 years of our nations Independence.

    Independence Day was topped off with a colossal parade down the main streets of San Pedro, where hundreds lined the streets to view the great floats and enjoy the great music and dancing. The parade began when the fire engine sounded its horn, signaling the commencement of the parade. Following the fire engine was a large enthusiastic bunch that featured political personalities from both sides; marching bands, scores of flags, thousands of students, and a big jump up from several businesses. A sense of unity was felt through out the festivities as revelers broke into spontaneous cheers, whilst others danced and waved their Belizean flags in one of the biggest parades San Pedro has seen.

    During the parade, judges were assigned the difficult task of observing the many floats and choose winners. The top three “Best Organized” groups were: 3rd place went to Reef Radio for their colorful enthusiastic effort; second place went to San Pedro High School for their creativity and energy whilst 1st place went to the ABC Pre-school. ABC school deserved its recognition as the parent of each child sported matching green shirts whilst hoisting up Belizean maps in hand. “Best Float” winners: 3rd place went to Ambergris Today, second place was Ambergris Elementary and first place went to Marina’s Store with their float featuring a Mayan temple in which the kids were dressed in several Maya attires. During the Independence Day Parade on Friday afternoon, a variety of local organizations, businesses and social groups also exhibited their patriotism throughout the main streets of San Pedro.

    The celebrations highlighted the great achievements of the Belizean people during their first quarter century of Independence as well as the formidable challenges facing them as they embark on the next quarter of a century. A release from The Belize Tourism Board stated that Independence in Belize “is a day that honors our struggles, our struggles to a better life, a day that celebrates our triumph that has led our country and its people to freedom and a new and improved way of life.”

    The merriment and independence festivities continued with an all day “jump up” and beach party - a perfect way to honor freedom and Belize’s Independence!

During the day on September 20th, the primary school kids showed their patriotism with a collaborative parade of all schools down the streets of the island.

Later that evening, a huge block party transformed Barrier Reef Drive into one big bash, complete with drinks, food, and music provided by several businesses.

Prior to the official ceremonies on the Eve of Independence, the San Pedro High School Marching Band/Drum Corp gave a fine performance, parading through the streets with energetic cheerleaders in tow.

Then, there were the formalities of the evening, including the arrival of Miss San Pedro, accompanied by drummers and torch bearers with much pomp and circumstance. Along with Deputy Mayor, Joe Elijio and Councilor Juan Alamilla, San Pedro’s newest goodwill ambassador Angela Alamilla initiated the kick off of the festivities.

Majorette girls displayed great enthusiasm leading into the ceremonies.

Minutes before midnight, the partying was partially interrupted to give way to the official ceremonies. Mayor Elsa Paz and the Area Representative Manuel Heredia performed an official inspection of the gallant members of the Belize Defense Force Unit before addressing the gathering.

After the conclusion of the ceremony, a great fireworks display followed, enjoyed greatly by both the young and old. 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 block party was the best yet for San Pedro and it certainly lived up to the expectations of all those present that partied until the wee hours of the morning. It was 26 years of Independence celebrated and enjoyed by the masses. “Independent, Strong and Free, Belize fi all ah We!”

For the Independence Day Parade, it was more celebration. Many golf carts were decked out with the owners’ themes on patriotism on display for all to enjoy.

The Reef Radio took third for Best Organized group (with their surprise element, Miss Costa Maya 2007, Belize’s very own, Maria Jeffery).

Ramon’s Village had an incredibly colorful and enthusiastic crowd as part of their float.

The youngest revelers dressed up and joined in the celebrations too. The Independence spirit is in ALL of us!

This must be quite possibly the cutest and most patriotic dog on the island! Decked out in her very own, ‘red’ top, ‘white’ belt and ‘blue’ skirt - Picosa matched her equally darling owner, Kiara Milian.
Belizeans live up September Celebrations!

This year, Belize celebrated its 26th anniversary as an independent nation and the days leading up to September 21st were marked with a host of, pageantry, ceremony, festivity, contests, parades and displays of patriotism. In San Pedro, the streets were filled with patriotic Belizeans and visitors as throngs of people came out to celebrate Belize’s 26th anniversary of Independence. The San Pedro Town Council and the entire community of “La Isla Bonita” came together with enthusiastic demonstrations of Belizean pride. For those that missed it, not to worry, there is a photo collage of the festivities from beginning to end. Enjoy!
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