Excitement for the event will build as the stage and booths are constructed. The grounds committee has planned a new layout which promises more visibility for the audiences. Sanchez Riverol of Chetumal will provide the lighting and sound systems for the performers.
Tuesday, August 13th, the opening night of the festival promises to be a show stopper. The State of Tabasco in Mexico will present the Ballet Folclorico del Estado de Tabasco. Paloma Martin, the noted Mariachi songstress, and Los Galleros Mariachis de Quintanaroo will entertain. La Reina de la Costa Maya
A festival first is set to take place - La Reina de la Costa Maya featuring contestants from the five countries will take place (See article on page 1). Following the pageant, the nine member dance band "Karmito y Los Supremos" will have festival lovers dancing til dawn.
Wednesday, August 14
On Wednesday, August 14, El Salvador takes the stage. El Salvadorís performers will be new to festival fans this year. 14 members of La Ballet Folclorica Nacional will begin the programme, they will be followed by one of El Salvadorís most popular bands - Rene Alonso Y su Banda Lasser. The 14 member band will fill the air with soca, cumbia and merengue.
Thursday, August 15
Thursday, August 15 the festival will present Guatemala. The 29 member Ballet Folclorico de INGUAT will fill the stage. "La Presencia de Nuestra Maxima Reina de la Belleza" - Miss Guatemala 1996, Karla Hannelore Beteta Forkel, will be presemnted. INGUAT will also present Desfile de trajes tipico and Desfile de FANTASIA. The festival will then welcome back a favorite - Los Phoenix del Peten, the 15 member popular dance band.
Friday, August 16
Friday, August 16 marks the arrival of La Gran Banda from Honduras. The 20 member band is a festival favorite.
This year, for the first time, 12
members of La Ballet Folclorico Nacional of Honduras will perform. Another
festival first will occur as Honduras will also have a tourism and
handicraft booth on the festival grounds.
Saturday, August 17
Saturday, August 17 is Belize/Caribbean Night. The 13 member Leomar Dance Group will perform cultural dances. A special Ambergris Caye presentation by Miss San Pedro Ceci Lara, and the international Garifuna Kids band will perform. More entertainment will be confirmed this week.
Sunday, August 18
Sunday August 18 promises to have something for everyone. Beginning with Santinoís Mountain Bike Classic, a race from the center of town to the end of the island and back will start the day. Land and sea activities are planned including a diving relay in search of sunken treasure, Mary Ellenís Scavenger Hunt, a volleyball tournament, darts competition, the Grand Parade and on the festival grounds the Body Builders competition, entertainment by the San Pedro High School Band and Memo and his band. Other names will be released as the performances are confirmed.
Forty five booths featuring food and commercial enterprises are planned as well as sponsors booths and tourism and handicraft booths from the five countries. Local and national organizations will also be in attendance. Four liquor booths will be offering their specialties - Sandals Reggae Bar, Big Daddyís, The Fiesta Bar and The San Pedro Football Club. A special treat for the youngsters has been planned, Pelofino and Burbujitas - clowns from Mexico will be on the festivals grounds performing juggling acts and making balloon animals. Arrangements are underway for mechanical games for the children.
The enthusiasm and support for the festival has been outstanding. With TACA International Airlines as the Festivalís Grand Sponsor, larger groups of entertainers will be performing at this yearís event. Joining TACA, the festivalís GRAND Sponsor, in staging the 1996 Festival are the San Pedro Town Board and Diamond Sponsors Bowen & Bowen Ltd., Cuelloís Caribbean Rum and Love FM/Estereo Amor. Platinum sponsors are Island Plaza who has provided office space for the festival and Tropic Air, helping to bring performers. This yearís Gold Sponsors include The Belize Bank Ltd., Maya Airways and The Atlantic Group. Silver Sponsors are: Island Air, Caribbean Depot, Peteís Enterprises, Trish Carter and The San Pedro Sun. The Festivalís Bronze Sponsors are Angelus Press, SysComp Belize, Mash Hardware, Maple Plastics and Giovanniís Painting Shop.
San Pedroís hoteliers have once again shown their support and generosity by providing accommodations for some of the visiting dignitaries. In addition to providing accommodation for La Reina de la Costa Maya, Rockís Inn will host Mexico. The Mayan Princess will also host Mexico. For the fourth year The San Pedro Holiday Hotel will host the El Salvador delegation. Victoria House will provide accommodation for Governor General Sir Colville Young and the Guatemalan officials. The dignitaries from Honduras will be hosted by Ramonís Village. Representatives of Belizeís Cultural and Tourism booth will be hosted by The Hotel Playador. Rubieís Hotel will host the clowns from Mexico and Marthaís will host Elizabeth Lee and her assistant, the stage managers. The HideAway Hotel, for the third year will be home for the visiting performers.