San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Festival of Lights to Illuminate San José

PASEO Colón will light up like a giant Christmas tree tomorrow evening as families from all corners of the country flock to downtown San José to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the annual Festival of Lights holiday parade.


“We wanted to put on an event filled with magic and fantasy and an infinity of lights,” Jorge Villalobos, chief of protocol for the Municipality of San José and the general coordinator of the event, told The Tico Times. “It’s something we do for all of the families of Costa Rica to come together and have a good time.”


The festival consists of a smaller pasacalles parade of dancers representing the multitude of cultures that call Costa Rica home, followed by the main light parade, with musical groups, floats and local celebrities all taking part in the action.


This year, the municipality is expecting more than a million people to turn out for the event.


“Every year there are more and more people coming (to the festival),” Villalobos said. “It’s something all families look forward to.”


THE annual festival was initiated 10 years ago to “have a first-rate entertainment event for the families of a first-rate country,” he said.


Among the illuminated floats, parade dancers and musical groups, several celebrities will be making guest appearances, including U.S.-Costa Rican astronaut Franklin Chang and Costa Rican actress Maribel Guardia. A special group of 600 dancers will give a performance entitled “La Luz de Nuestra Identitad” (“The Light of Our Identity”) in recognition of the festival’s 10-year anniversary.


Those wishing to get a good view of the parade should stake out their spots early – Villalobos warned that the streets will be packed by noon. The festival will be broadcast live on all national TV networks for those wanting to experience the parade but not the crowds of people.


The festival will begin with the pasacalles parade of cultural dancers at 3:30 p.m., followed by the main parade at 6 p.m. The festivities should go on until about 10 p.m., according to Villalobos. The parade is slated to start at the National Gymnasium on Paseo Colón and end at the Plaza de la Democracia, on the east side of downtown.


For more information, call 295-6013.

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