September Celebrations wind down with Independence Day Jump Up

Primary school students gather at Central Park

The last part of the September Celebrations was celebrated on Independence Day, bringing the month-long festivities to an end. San Pedranos came out Sunday night, September 20th, at Central Park to witness "El grito de la Independencia"- (the shout of independence).

Mayor Alberto Nuñez addressed the gathering and he thanked all the organizers of the September celebrations and the huge crowd who had gathered at Central Park. The crowd gathered early at the park and enjoyed music, food and drinks before the start of the ceremony. Barbara Alonzo Brown's Dance Group presented two dance performances before Mayor Alberto initiated the celebrations.

Members of Belize Defense Force were present at the Midnight Torch and Flag Ceremony. After the children marched in with the torches and business flags, they fired three shots in salute to Belize and the Belizean Flag was raised. The members of the defense force were inspected by Mayor Alberto Nuñez and Hon. Patty Arceo. In her speech, Hon. Patty Arceo welcomed everybody to the evening's celebration and thanked them for showing their pride towards Belize. The National Anthem was sung by Debbie Spain and Marcia Haylock.

The San Pedro Town Board provided a display of fireworks which illuminated the night's sky after the flag was raised. Immediately after, Crack took the stage and pumped the crowd with their lively and energetic music. The Independence dance lasted all night and the crowd did not diminish until the wee hours of the morning. The Unity Band was also there to entertain the gathering.

Primary school children parade through the streets of Downtown San Pedro
The Island Academy float in the Independence Day parade

The following day was the all-day jump up of Independence Day. No "aliens" invaded Central Park, but hundreds of people gathered at 11:00 a.m. to witness the crowning of Miss Norma Flota as the new Miss San Pedro 1998/99. After the crowning, the parade took to the streets.

It was a long, highly energized, and colorful parade that marched through the entire town. The floats were very creative and imaginative. Winner of the best float was Lidia's Institute of Fine Education (L.I.F.E.). Little Angels Pre-school and Ramon's Village tied at second place. The best organized group was awarded to The Island Academy (T.I.A.) and second place was awarded to San Pedro High School. All the winners were awarded cash prizes.

Independence Day was filled with activities for everybody. The Unity Band and the Punta Kids provided live music for the entire day. Games and races allowed the children to keep busy the whole day. A beach volleyball competition was also held which was won by Ricky Marin and Trevor Delvalle. The highlight of the day was the "greasy pole." This year, in addition to the standing greasy pole, there was a greasy pole suspended parallel to the sea, placed at the Municipal Pier. This gave the children an opportunity to participate in the greasy pole competition. A flag was placed at the end of the greased up pole and the children tried to walk to the end to snatch the flag and win a cash prize. The standing greasy pole posed an even more difficult task. A group of men had to create a human tower in order to get the flag. After many futile attempts, greasy bodies and screaming excitement from the on-looking crowd, the cash prize was won. The crowd stayed at Central Park long after the sun went down, enjoying the fresh sea breeze, food, drinks and the live entertainment.

The primary school children participated in the Spelling Bee held at the Lions Den on September 17th. First place was won by Krystle Castillo. Lisa Sharp won second place and Rodrigo Allen placed third. A poem competition also took place that night and was won by Lisa Sharp; Dalia Alamilla won second. The Backstreet Girls won the dance competition and Standard VI of San Pedro R.C. School won second. The winners were awarded cash prizes courtesy of the San Pedro Town Board.

One of the many creative floats in the Independence Day parade

On September 18th, the primary school children also attended the Primary School Parade which started at Central Park. The children had to bear the intense heat of the day in their uniforms, but in reaching Central Park, they were treated with ideals and a snack bag. They were then given the rest of the day off school. That evening the Primary School Talent Night was held at Central Park. The primary school children presented poems, songs, and dances, among other presentations to the gathering.

The entire country of Belize participated in the historical Bicentennial Celebrations of The Battle of St. George's Caye and in the 17th celebration of the country's independence. San Pedro did its part in celebrating a "Historic Past" and in getting ready for a "Glorious Future."

"The San Pedro Town Board and the San Pedro's September Celebrations Committee, through this medium, would like to extend a special "Thank You" to all those who cooperated and whose support made this year's celebrations a huge success.

To the businesses who donated cash and/or services we are especially grateful, for we are aware that this time of the year business is slow. We thank all the individuals who donated food for the various events and to the sports committee for tirelessly working hand in hand with us. Thanks to all the schools, both the teachers and the students for participating in the various events. To the presenters who took time from their busy schedule to participate in this year's Awareness Day Seminars, thank you.

Most importantly, we would like to thank all the residents of San Pedro for coming out to celebrate and support the various programs and events that were put together with you in mind.

September Celebrations wind down with Independence Day Jump Up

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