Costa Ricans who came to show their support for disaster-struck Japan overwhelmed the Centro Nacional de la Cultura Sunday.
Perhaps the largest number ever to visit an event there filled the interior of the centro, which is the former national liquor factory just east of Parque España. By noon, those operating sales booths within the facility were making dashes to renew their supplies. By 2 p.m. there was a line of visitors Perhaps 200 yards long patiently awaiting their turn outside.
Informal estimates range from 5,000 to 10,000 persons.
Despite the somber reason for the gathering, the mood was upbeat. Erik Madrigal of Santa Ana was teaching an enthusiastic group the art of origami.
A.M. Costa Rica photo
Hundreds waited patiently to enter the culture center for the event.
For some reason imperial storm troopers patrolled the crowded paths pausing for photographs with visitors. Hundreds sat in the amphitheater when the Orquesta Sinfónica de Desamparados played.
Cruz Roja volunteers encouraged donations. The money will be sent to Japan.
The event was put on by the Asociación Japonesa en Costa Rica and the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud. Clearly neither organization expected the massive turnout.
Some of those who attended came for the gallo pinto celebration in Paseo Colón where the Maggi food company served about 10,000 free plates of the Costa Rican traditional dish.