This is a big festival weekend for residents of the Caribbean

This is a big weekend in Limón. Saturday is the  Día de la Persona Negra y de la Cultura Afrocostarricense, and there will be the annual colorful parade in Limón Centro organized by the  Comité Cívico Cultural Étnico Negro de Limón.

This year the event, known as the XV Festival de la Cultura Negra – Back to our roots, honors the  República de Haití. Activities Thursday and Friday include games and events for youngsters. There also will be educational conferences, exhibitions and concerts. And, of course, there is food and dancing.

There also is a contests for young ladies called  Little Black Beauty.

The parade steps off at 12:30 p.m. from Parque Vargas  to the Black Star Line.

The festival has the support of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud. The event always is a big tourist draw.

The black culture in Limón has its roots in the construction of the country’s railway and subsequent banana plantations. Black Costa Ricans were second-class citizens for years and were prohibited from coming to the Central Valley.

Consequently the culture developed in its own unique way.

Puerto Viejo to the south will have its own celebrations. The Third Annual International Cine Festival and the Festival de la Diaspora Africana will begin at 5 p.m. Friday  and continue through Saturday, concluding with Canto America at 10 p.m. The films focus on Caribbean culture and history, and are produced by local and international film makers. Special guests will include actors Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo, and Danny Glover.

Friday beginning at 5 p.m., Coconut Restaurant will host a taste-testing and gastronomic demonstration of Caribbean foods from local chefs. This event will repeat at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Cultural activities will begin at El Jardin de la Diaspora, next to Koki Beach bar and restaurant, with live music by the Rumberitos, followed by opening remarks by Maritza Morales, spokeswoman for the Caribbean cultural organization in Puerto Viejo. There will also be speeches by Carol Britton, Alfre Woodward and Delroy Lindo, Two films will be shown: “Documental de Era Verde: Caribe Sur, Costa, Historia y Resistencia” and “Crooklyn.”

Saturday, a parade kicks off another evening of films and music. The parade  leaves from the Casa de la Cultura at 4:30 p.m.

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