A wet independence day eve does not dampen the spirits

A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Person
Students from the Colegio Superior de Señoritas proudly display the Antorcha de la Libertad
during a ceremoney Friday night in Parque Central.

The rain was gentle Friday night for the relay teams that carried the Antorcha de la Libertad.

The weather always seems to be wet the evening before the Día de la Independencia, but the hundreds of runners from schools and institutions always seem to be upbeat.

A.M. Costa Rica/Connie Foss
Independence day marcher in Puerto Viejo de Limón wears a papier-mâché mask illustrating the racial diversity of the province. Red, yellow, black and white represent the native, Latin, African-American and European residents: all of which were spectators at Saturday’s parade.

Participants sung the national anthem at 6 p.m. at San José Parque Central as the torch arrived on its journey from the northern border to Cartago. Even in some private businesses, employees sang at the same time. The staff at the Gran Hotel Costa Rica surprised tourists there with the anthem at exactly 6 p.m.

Saturday was bright and sunny for the parades that featured mostly school children. As a bonus, the youngsters are off today in recognition for their participation. Even some private schools are off.

The torches, the anthem and the parades are a tradition. Another tradition seems to be that whenever a president takes a ride on a new rail link, the wheels derail. That happened to President Laura Chinchilla Friday as she made her way for the big ceremony in Cartago, the former national capital.
The same thing happened to then-president Óscar Arias Sánchez when he sought to travel to Heredia when that line was new.

A.M. Costa Rica/Garland Baker
Dancers take to the streets in Guápiles Saturday.

Still officials say there will be full passenger service from Cartago in December after a few kinks are worked out.

The Fuerza Pública said officers detained 16 persons for fighting in the street, 21 for drinking alcohol in public and several others for robbery and family violence.

There were parades all over the country. In Puerto Viejo de Limón the band played Caribbean-style rhythm on drums and xylophones. The marchers were more like calypso dancers. There were a few clowns with homemade costumes. The banner read in Spanish: Limón: tourism and education.

The marchers and band were members of the fairly new Liceo Rural in Puerto Viejo. Since there is only one road through the region, the parade blocked holiday traffic including buses, tourist vans and private vehicles.

A.M. Costa Rica staff
Escuela de Perú students and parents march in the rain.

President Chinchilla, back in San José for the Saturday morning parade, promised to focus her efforts in the last 19 months of her administration in security, infrastructure and improving the business climate.

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