LIMON – Lim ón Carnival´s main attraction, the costume parade, took place Saturday under the watchful eye of a large police presence as thousands took to the Caribbean port city´s streets to celebrate its return after a three-year hiatus.
Floats, samba drums, colorful outfits and jerk chicken were the order of the day, as the streets came alive in true Caribbean style.
Baton-wielding mounted police turned out in large numbers to ensure that the event passed without the outbreaks of violence and petty theft that have marred the event in previous years.
Music school bands from around the country made the trip to the southeastern coast to participate in the parade, and enthusiasts watched from tiered stands lining the streets.
The Health Ministry´s fears that organizers had failed to clear the Lim ón streets of garbage in preparation for the large influx of visitors were unfounded.
Visitors who arrived early in anticipation of a noon start were surprised to find desolate, but clean, streets. The parade actually got underway at 3 p.m.
Elena Rivas, a Limón hairdresser, said, “It doesn´t feel like Carnival this year because not so many people have come out for it.”
However, residents celebrated the festival´s return.
Health officials had suspended the carnival since 2006 due to fears of an outbreak of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease, linked to the presence of pools of standing water and the failure to adequately dispose of household waste.
“It´s great it wasn´t canceled,” Rivas said, “but because of all the problems in the past, it seems to have lost its momentum. Usually the streets are full, but not this year.”