"Welcome all to this beautiful evening of celebrations," said Mayor Alberto Nuñez in his opening speech at the official opening ceremony of San Pedro's 150th Birthday. The ceremony took place on Saturday, June 27th at the old football field. The crowds gathered early at the football field, enjoying food, drinks and entertainment. Moms and dads were busy looking after their children who were eager to ride all the mechanical rides at least twice.
In his speech, Mayor Nuñez talked about our ancestors and how they struggled to build this beautiful paradise in which we live in. He also expressed his happiness in seeing such a good turnout for the festivities.
"San Pedro holds a special part in my heart and I feel so proud of all San Pedranos," said guest speaker Lita Krohn, of Channel 5 News. "We should all try to keep life on the island very simple. Lets try to build fewer concrete buildings and not allow the island's natural beauty to be destroyed."
Patty Arceo, PUP standard bearer for Belize Rural South, gave the vote of thanks where she expressed her love to the island and all the people. "I wish all San Pedranos and San Pedranos at heart a happy birthday, because it is a united birthday that we are celebrating," she said.
Veli's Dance Group performed a variety of Mexican/Mestizo dances. Her students danced in colorful costumes and entertained the crowd with beautiful dance selections.
The crowd especially enjoyed a short, twenty minute skit about the island's history. Mr. Angel Nuñez wrote the skit entitled "The Birth of San Pedro", in which a handful of children performed. It was a delightful skit which produced many laughs and smiles.
Vanya Vasquez, Miss San Pedro 1997-1998, recited a poem written by Don Lucio Guerrero. The poem summarized the birth of San Pedro and talked about its natural beauty.
The highlight of the evening, and closing performance was a dance by the Sunshine Dancers. The Sunshine Dancers were a group of nine girls who entertained gatherings at almost every event that took place on the island. The group retired about ten years ago. Most of the members of the Sunshine Dancers are now married and have children. For a special tribute to San Pedro they reunited to dance to Madonna's very own "La Isla Bonita".
After the presentations, the crowd's attention was directed to the night's sky which was illuminated by fireworks; an excellent touch to the ceremony's conclusion. Caribbean Roots took over for the rest of the night, providing live musical entertainment until the early hours of the morning.
On Sunday evening, June 28th, the gathering at the football field was entertained with cultural presentations performed by Veli's Dance group. The winners of the fishing tournament, that took place earlier that morning, were presented with awards. Leonardo Bradley won first place and Sea Boots took second place. A Grand Dance followed with the Caribbean Roots providing the live music.
The Mañanitas started promptly at 3:00 a.m. with the sounding of the siren around town on Monday, June 29th, Dia de San Pedro. The men's mass was conducted at 4:00 a.m. Breakfast was served at the Lion's Den and the boat procession followed. A special touch was added to the boat procession this year. The San Pedro Town Board handed out flags with the picture of our patron Saint Peter. The flags were blessed and handed out to each fisherman who attended the procession.
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