That is a prelude to the big event at 6 p.m. when the Antorcha de la Libertad will be passing through town. Relays of mostly school children are carrying the torch from the Nicaraguan border with the goal of arriving exactly at 6 p.m. at Parque Central. Other teams will take the torch to Cartago where central government officials and President Laura Chinchilla have another big ceremony planned. Cartago is the former national capital. The annual ceremony at Parque Central is the 27th.
In San José the 191st Día de Independencia includes a big dance with two professional groups after the torch moves on. The Banda Nacional de Conciertos and the Son de Tikizia will be featured at this free event.
A big change this year is that the Saturday independence ceremony will not be held at Parque Nacional. It will be in Parque Central instead, said municipal officials. There from a viewing stand being erected in front of the Teatro Popular Melico Salizar President Chinchilla and others will review the independence day parade.
The parade starts at 8:30 a.m., and marchers, mostly students will go from Parque la Merced to Calle 7 along Avenida 2.
Hundreds of police, fire fighters and Cruz Roja workers will be stationed along the line of march. Traffic police will be diverting vehicles.
The municipality is encouraging outlets that sell alcohol to have a voluntary dry period before and during the parade to cut down on any unruly behavior. Municipal inspectors also are going to be making rounds tonight of the various bars and liquor stores in the city to encourage the voluntary ban on sales, they said.
In Zapote Friday night there will be a dance at the fair grounds starting at 8 p.m. with music provided by the Grupo Los Hicsos.
The Comité Cantonal de Deportes y Recreación de San José is putting on a mini cultural festival today, Saturday and Sunday at the Parque de la Independencia in Barrio Córdoba.
In Hatillo 6 in southern San José there will be sales of typical foods in the Salón Comunal from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional says that a low pressure area still south of Panamá might dampen independence activities. In a special forecast, the institute said that late afternoon downpours with lightning are likely both today and Saturday. Also predicted are fog and rain in the early hours of the night. However, Saturday is predicted to be partly cloudy, hot and sticky for the parade with a chance of midday showers.
The event today features the Grupo Musical Auroral at 10 a.m., Marimba Madera y Son at 11 a.m., Grupo Folclórico Güi pi pía at noon and the cimarrona and mascaradas from Los Chapetones at 1 p.m. The traditional brass street band and the large papier-mâché masks are a standard at nearly all Costa Rican civic gatherings.