San José today is going to the horses and riders

Today is the day for the big horse parade through the main streets of San José. It is the Tope Nacional when Costa Ricans strive to enhance their ties with their agricultural past.

The column of thousands of horses is supposed to start from Plaza Víquez at 10 a.m., but such events usually start later than planned. The finish is at Parque la Sabana. Spectators will be in the many thousands.

In addition to riders, spectators will see lariat experts, various carts and a heavy presence of beer despite laws to the contrary.

The tope or “encounter” is part of the Festejos Populares de San José, known best for the carnival in the Zapote fairgrounds. That event got off to a wet start Sunday, but that did not stop the professional and informal bullfighters that appeared in the rondel.

Professionals in traditional garb demonstrated various passes with the fighting bulls without inflicting harm. Then the gangs of informal bull baiters took the sloppy field.

There did not appear to be any serious injuries, but in several cases a bull assisted an informal bull baiter in leaving the ring.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional predicted cloudy skies in the Central Valley today with likely afternoon and evening showers in the central and southern Pacific coast.

The institute said that from 20 to 30 millimeters (.8 of an inch to 1.2 inches) of rain fell Christmas Day on the Caribbean coast with perhaps as much as 50 millimeters, nearly 2 inches, in the northern zone and northern Caribbean. The central and south Pacific got from 15 to 30 millimeters, about .6 to 1.2 inches.

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