Wet weather fails to dampen the emotions of Festival de la Luz

Hundreds of thousands braved wet and chilly weather Saturday to witness the Festival de la Luz, the gigantic Christmas parade.

Although the country may not be facing a wave of head colds and respiratory infections, only some 30 persons were treated by cold -related conditions Saturday. At least two were true hypothermia cases.

Police said they picked up 33 persons, most for fighting and for being drunk or taking drugs in public.

Police estimated the crowd at a million persons. But the number dwindled as the wet evening wore on. There were many children.  Sandra Garcia, San José mayor, also estimated a million.

The event actually started with a 3 p.m. show in Paseo Colón for the youngsters. That is about when the rain started, too.

The official parade marshal was the Cuerpo de Bomberos, the fire fighters. There was antique equipment in the parade. The fire fighters mark their 150th anniversary next year.

Of the eight floats, the one that captured the top prize was sponsored by the Banco de Costa Rica.

The float was designed by Panamanian Edwar Loo and inspired by a magical forest, including  the main characters of ancient fables as Pegasus, Minotaur, dragons, unicorns and princes.   Ivania Saenz, marketing manager of the bank, said that the float gives a positive message.

The festival opened with the float of the Municipalidad de San José, which is not in the prize competition, because the municipality sponsors the parade.

The float was inspired by the story of Peter Pan, the fantasy character. It was a big project of three floats, designed by Orazio Prado and Aldolfo Mendoza.  The first one is the crocodile holding a clock in his mouth, Then a second float containing the ship with all the Neverland pirates dancing and preforming And finally, there was the third float with a giant version of Peter, A team of  60 people artists, actors, models and dancers participated.  According to Mendoza, workers spent one year from creating the blue print of the float until artists applied the last details.

The enormous sculpture of  Peter Pan on the float was driven by a hydraulic motor,  The motor lifted the sculpture up several feet. Unfortunately, a girl dressed as Tinkerbell, who was at the top of the Peter Pan sculpture, became entangled between the electric cables.

Fire fighters and power company technicians had to lift up cables with long metal poles and support the cables until the float could get unstuck. The parade was held for almost 20 minutes until the float was released from the cables.

The Orotina Band won the top prize in that category.

The float of the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo was inspired by the seven natural wonders of Costa Rica, wild animals of the jungle and tropical beauty.

The float of the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo was inspired by the seven natural wonders of Costa Rica, wild animals of the jungle and tropical beauty.

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