San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Festival lights up San José

Toddlers sat on parents´ shoulders and crowds crushed in, all in the hopes of getting a better view of Saturday night´s Festival of Lights in the Costa Rican capital of San José.

The crowds were thick, and for latecomers, the only option was to balance on tiptoes or climb fences or trees to get a glimpse of the passing floats.

Perhaps San José´s most popular event, this year did not disappoint.

The evening opened with a panorama of fireworks and a live performance from runner-up Latin American Idol Eduardo Aguirre – a Costa Rican who fell to second place in the competition behind the Dominican Martha Heredia just two days prior.

Moments later, the country´s top marching bands, dance crews, cheerleaders and acrobats took to the streets with energy and lively music to back them up. They were interspersed with ornately costumed rollerbladers, richly lit floats and a crew of ATVers riding on their back wheels.

The floats represented mainly leading private companies, banks, universities and government bodies, each competing for the most dazzling display. In the end, colorful floats by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) and the National Tourism Board won first and second place respectively.

Highlights also included a brightly lit trailer bed carrying the under-20 national soccer team (who made it to the World Cup quarterfinals) and several Disney-themed displays.

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