Nicoya tortilla champ is powerhouse with her palms

A 47-year-old Nicoya woman who has been throwing tortillas since she was 8 won the top spot in the Festival de la Tortilla Wednesday at the Colegio Técnico Profesional de Corralillo.

She is María Jesús Chavarría of the nearby community of Juan Díaz. This is her third victory in a row.

The contest was to use the technique of palmeadas al aire, sort of like throwing pizza dough. Judges evaluated the 12 contestants on the size of the tortilla and its consistency. Most cooks roll tortillas like pie dough, and this palms-in-the-air technique appears to be traditional in the Nicoya area.

The festival was the overture to a big day in the community today, the  189th anniversary of the Anexión del Partido de Nicoya, a decision by the people that that gave Costa Rica the territory

Officials in Nicoya moved Wednesday to frustrate protesters who were planning to march on a session with President Laura Chinchilla and her ministers in the community’s Parque Recaredo Briceño.

Instead of meeting at 10 a.m., the session will be at 5 p.m. There still is an 8 a.m. ceremony at the  Monumento de La Anexión.

Afterwards there are two symphonies at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. and folk dancing at 8:15 p.m. There is another concert at 9 p.m.

The community of Nicoya is going all out this year to celebrate the event, which is marked by a national holiday today.

There have been events, like the tortilla festival, all week.

Naturally with the threats of protests, there has been heavy security around the president during her entire trip, which ends today.

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