Leave it to the French to turn a minor disaster into a night of celebration.
When termites invaded the historic structure that houses the main offices of Alliance Française, the cultural organization embarked on major renovations to the 115-year-old wood building in Barrio Amón.
The building is a national heritage site, but that fact was not recognized by the termites. Alliance officials became fully aware of the problem last year and had to replace some of the structure. Most of that replaced was not of the original historic building, they said.
However, in some cases tamarindo wood beams were imported from Nicaragua, said the organization. The work is not done yet. About another month is needed, but the termites are at the point of extermination.
The price tag is about 20 million colons or a bit more than $40,000. Several fundraisers have been held, but Alliance Française now plans a big ball May 5 in the Antigua Aduana. The organization said it expects 1,000 couples to fill the giant building in east San José.
The event is being called the Baile del Comején or termite ball. Appropriately one of the groups that will provide a litany of Latin music is Madera Nueva. Also playing will be Son Mayor and Eric Sánchez.
The event is being supported by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud and the Municipalidad de San José, as well as commercial sponsors. Dancing starts at 7 p.m.
Tickets, which are 5,000 colons per person, are available at the Barrio Amón location or at Alliance centers in La Sabana and Heredia.