Weekend will be a great one with varied attractions

The weekend will be one of the great ones with a three-day double arts festival in San José, oxcart drivers taking over Escazú for two days and the 40th anniversary of the national orchid society, which started Thursday night.


The Día Nacional del Boyero opens at noon Saturday in San Antonio de Escazú with fireworks followed by the papier-maché mascaradas and brass band cimarronas. There are two Roman Catholic Masses, including one for deceased oxcart drivers. At 8 p.m. there is a folk dance festival followed by more fireworks at 10 p.m.

Escazú residents will be jolted from their beds at 5 a.m. Sunday with reveille followed by music until 10 a.m. when the big parade of oxen, their carts and their handlers begins the ascent from Escazú Centro to San Antonio, the adopted home of the boyeros.

There is food in and around the Catholic church in San Antonio and other items for sale. The oxen will be blessed as they pass in front of the church. There are prizes and a dance after lunch. More fireworks end the event at 7 p.m.

Walking with the oxen to San Antonio is possible, but a wise expat might be able to hitch a ride in one of the brightly painted oxcarts. For residents along the route, its a real party without leaving home. Some set up small stands with food and drink.

A.M. Costa Rica photo

Double arts festival

Transitarte, the cultural fiesta in San José begins tonight, and participants were at work setting up their booths Thursday. This is a major event set up by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud. This year the Municipalidad de San José has scheduled the second week of its Fiesta de Verano for the weekend.

This is the big weekend for these events. There was some activity in Parque España and Parque Morazán last weekend. But by Thursday long rows of tents were set up in Parque Nacional, and sound and light technicians were installing a stage with towers just north of the Monumento Nacional.

The booths promise all sorts of cultural avocations from puppets to oil paintings. The event starts today at 3 p.m. with music. The formal inauguration is at 6:30 p.m. with fireworks in Parque Morazán. Saturday morning there will be crowds in the four parks involved as well as the Centro Nacional de la Cultura, the culture ministry in the former national liquor factory east of Parque España.

The days are like a five- or six-ring circus with performances of all types at the same time in different places. A full schedule is HERE!

There are clowns and street performers, all types of music from rock to meringue and salsato flamenco, mascaradas, cimarronas and, of course, food. A big rock concert is planned for Parque Nacional at 6 p.m. Saturday with at least three groups.

In San Ramón

Not all the weekend activity is in San José or Escazú. The Festival Internacional del Folklore IZTKATZU is Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Centro de Cultura Social de San Ramón, Participating will be the Ballet Zacatecas from México, the Grupo de Baile Folclórico Orquídea Blanca and the Grupo de Baile Folclórico Sörbo.

Orchids on display

Lucia Fernández of Jardin de Orquídeas in Palmares shows off white and purple guaria morada, the national flower, Thursday while workmen install lights and speakers at nearby Parque Nacional for a concert. Photo: AM Costa Rica

The 40th Exposición Nacional de Orquídeas opens to the public today at the Antigua Aduana, now called the Centro del Arte y la Cultura. The location is just a short walk from Parque Nacional. The event is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Sunday.

The displays already have been judged. A team from the American Orchid Society came to Costa Rica to view the displays and present prizes.

Costa Rica has 1,200 species of orchids, and Louis Lodygo. a Florida Agricultural Department employee in Miami, said that even he and the other U.S. experts sometimes need help in accurately identifying orchids while judging.

The orchid event has an admission of 2,500 colons (about $5) for adults and 1,000 colons (about $2) for seniors and children. The other events, watching oxen and enjoying the music and performances in the parks are free.

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