Country gears up for its independence celebration

Independence celebrations begin today at a number of government offices.

The Archivo Nacional, for example, is hosting the Banda de Escuela Napoleón Quesada Salazar and other students for a morning ceremony.

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud has an event open to the public at the Centro Nacional de Cultura from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the Fuerza Pública musicians and Mi Linda Costa Rica. Vendors will be selling food.

Municipal bands have a full schedule, and they will be called upon as the Antorcha de Libertad passes through their communities. The torch is supposed to arrive in Costa Rica this morning at Peñas Blancas to begin its 350-kilometer trip to Cartago.

Those carrying the torch faced uncertain weather conditions. But they will arrive in San José at 6 p.m. Sunday and two hours later at Cartago.

President Luis Guillermo Solís is expected to take the train to Cartago Sunday at 4:30 p.m. along with his cabinet. They leave from the Estación al Atlántico.  He is scheduled to convene a cabinet meeting at 6:30 p.m. and receive the torch at 8 p.m.

Fireworks are planned for 8:30 p.m.

The ceremonies with the torch take place Sunday night, but Monday is the legal holiday.  There will be a parade then in downtown San José, and traffic police will not be enforcing the ban on vehicles with license plates ending in 1 or 2, they said.

This is the 193rd independence celebration.

Saturday will be another edition of  Enamorate de tu Ciudad in the Parque Morazån complex and also in Parque La Merced on Avenida 2.  As every weekend the activities range from poetry recitals to face painting.

Monday, the Orquesta Julio Fonseca  plans an independence concert in the Teatro Nacional. The admission is just 1,000 colons, less than $2.

A lot of tourism locations have special rates for Costa Ricans and residents this weekend. However, families with children in school probably will not go away because the attendance of children at the Monday independence events is obligatory.

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