Maria del Socorro Retolaza chosen as Reina de la Costa Maya

Miss Reina de la Costa Maya (Photo by Kay Scott)

The representative of Mexico, Miss Maria del Socorro Retolaza was chosen as the first Reina del la Costa Maya at the pageant held on Tuesday night, the opening night of the Sea & Air Festival. This was the first year that the contest was dubbed the Reina del La Costa Maya. In previous years, the title was Miss Sea & Air Festival. The pageant committee decided to expand the concept this year and arranged for recognized beauty pageant winners from all five countries to take part. Miss del Socorro is from Veracruz and is the current Nuestra Belleza de Veracruz. Carmen Yesenia, the First Runner Up and also Miss Amity, is from El Salvador and holds the title of Miss Salvador Maya.

Many people were involved in the pageant; Marissa Salazar, Patty Arceo , Sharon Dominquez and Deny Eiley were just a few. This is the second time the Mexico representative has won the pageant featured at the Sea & Air Festival - the first time Mexico captured the crown was at the first festival in 1992.

The re-designed festival grounds provided much better visibility than in years past - the large tents were pitched a significant distance away from the stage, allowing the stage lighting of Sachez Riverol to be fully deployed. The contestants dazzled the audience with presentations in spectacular cultural costumes, evening wear, swim suits and a question and answer session. They also danced as a group.

Judges for the event were also an international cast. They included Tony Diaz, Regional Manager of TACA Airlines; Mellie Badillo, Manager of the SunBreeze Hotel; Carlos Raul Moralez, Guatemalan Consul in Belize; Liliana Isabel Lagos, a nationalized Belizean originally from Honduras and now Assistant Manager for Administration of Atlantic Bank; and Eduardo Ortiz Jasso, an architect of Mexico. Tabulators were Millie Gomez, Operations Manager at Atlantic Bank and Dali Guerrero, Accountant at Island Air.

Mr. Angel Nuñez, master of ceremonies for the festival introduced the pageant's mistress and master of ceremonies Wilema Alamilla and Cesar Gonzalez. The attractive couple commented in English and Spanish. While the contestants made costume changes the audience was serenaded by mariachis Los Galleros de Quintana Roo and Paloma Martin, one of Mexico’s most beloved mariachi singers from Merida.

From left to right, Queen of the Bay Sharon Dominguez, who was in charge of preparing the contestants for the big night; Patty Arceo, Miss Sea & Air Festival 1995; and Wilema Alamilla, Mistress of Ceremonies at the contest and a former Miss San Pedro.
The tabulators indicated they had tallied the judge's ballots. Miss Chiquitita 1996 Jean Seruntine and Miss Teen San Pedro Christine Astheimer joined Miss San Pedro, Ceci Lara to present bouquets. Ms. Patty Arceo, Ms. San Pedro International Sea & Air 1995, sashed and crowned Ms. Maria del Socorro Retolaza - the first Reina de la Costa Maya. Ms. Retolaza will remain in San Pedro for the Festival and will lead the Grand Parade on Sunday, August 18 at 1 p.m.

After the exciting pageant, the National Anthem of Mexico was played. Ambassador Victor Solano, Mexico's Ambassador to Belize spoke warmly of the two countries continuing friendship and Mexico's participation in the Sea & Air Festival - the celebration of the Mundo Maya. Ambassador Solano introduced the Nacional Balet from the State of Tabasco, Mexico. The colorful troup which consisted of 18 dancers was well received and enjoyed as they performed classic dances of Tabasco.Shortly after midnight, Karmito y Los Supremos of Tabasco got the crowd moving with their hot “Tabasco” sound. The 11 member band kept the festival goers dancing until 3 a.m. Viva Mexico!

On Wednesday at press time, Rene Alonzo and La Banda Lazzer from El Salvador were on their way to Belize, via Guatemala, due to airline reschedulings. A complete report of the 1996 Sea & Air Festival will be in next week's newspaper. Remember - Honduras on Friday Night, Belize Caribbean on Saturday, Santino's Classic and events and the Grand Parade Sunday at 1 p.m.

San Pedro Sun

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Copyright 1996 by Casado Internet Group

San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize News