Saturday, May 25, 2024

Hol Chan Marine Reserve concludes its 2023 Reef Fest with a fun and educational fair

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After a full week of fun and educational activities, the 2023 Hol Chan Marine Reserve Reef Fest concluded with a grand fair at the Boca del Rio Beach Park on Saturday, May 27th. The family event featured informational booths by several local and off-island organizations, as well as live music, a kayak race, games, and lots of giveaways.
The fair kicked off at 10AM with a kayak race featuring eight teams. Kayakers were challenged to paddle around the southern half of Ambergris Caye starting from the Boca del Rio channel on the west side, around the island’s lagoon, and returning to the beach park from the eastern side.

While the race was ongoing, island residents were welcomed to visit information booths by organizations such as the Fisheries Department, Belize Airports Authority, ACES Wildlife Rescue, the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association, Blue Ventures, Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development, Belize Tourism Board, and Hol Chan Marine Reserve, among others. There was also lots of entertainment for the entire family, including sporting and water activities. Children also enjoyed the antics of surprise guest Ozzy the Clown from Belize City.
By 1PM, the top kayakers were making their way to the finish line. In the male category, first place went to Team Jambel Jerk Pit, winning $2,500 and a $500 station prize. Team Amigos del Mar claimed second place, and $1,000, while the third-place prize of $750 went to Team Manta Ray Island Resort. Team Manta Ray also claimed a station prize of $500. Team 2 the Hard Way came in first in the female category and was awarded $1,000. There was also a prize of $1,000 for Team Thru Hard Way under the first Local Island Team category. The second-place finisher in the local island team category was Lazy Boyz, who took home $500.

According to Hol Chan, the annual Reef Fest activities highlight the importance of Belize’s natural resources, particularly marine assets. The fair also gives other partners in tourism and conservation a platform to present their work and educate the public on their mission.

Organizers commended everyone who joined this year’s celebration under the theme ‘Collectively Advocating and Safeguarding our Marine Resources through Research and Education.’ The week-long 2023 Reef Fest included the following events: Run for the Reef, a Reef Scavenger Hunt, a puppet show with Ozzy the Clown, sea turtle nesting monitoring training for high school students, a primary school trivia competition, the adoption of Esmeralda Park in downtown San Pedro, a décor and slogan competition at the San Pedro High School, and a movie night at the central park.
The sponsors of this year’s Reef Fest include Ramon’s Village Resort, Captain Sharks, Castillo’s Hardware Ltd., Benny’s Superstore, Grand Caribe Belize, Atlantic Bank Ltd., San Pedro Town Council, Hon. Andre Perez, L.C’s Distributors, Bowen & Bowen, E&E Security, ATM Hardware, Island Wheels, and Deluxe Golfcart Rentals.

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