Sunday, April 21, 2024

New Generation Comparsa group takes this year’s top prize in the Carnaval de San Pedro


The New Generation Comparsa group is the top comparsa in the annual island extravaganza El Carnaval de San Pedro. In second place was the popular Barbos, who had won the competition several times in the past. The traditional island festivity under the theme ‘Tributo a la Tradicion’ included lots of painting, parties, and street dances known as comparsas throughout the four-day carnival, which started on February 10th with a talent show at the central park.
It was the first-ever Comparsa Talent Show featuring several colorful dancing groups on stage. The anticipated festival started with live entertainment, games for the children, and booths offering tasty treats and beverages. The activities organized by the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) saw the performance of La Reina del Carnival Ana Najarro on that first evening and opened the night’s lineup with a fun song and dance. Other presentations included some by the San Pedro Dance Academy, Deejay Debbie, and school students performing traditional dances on stage as well.
The Comparsa talent show included the participation of groups composed of students and adults. They all featured talented performers dancing to traditional beats, highlighting Belizean culture’s different aspects, such as the iconic Garifuna. One of the presentations captured everyone’s attention after delivering a strong message against bullying in the island community. All performances were unique and kept the crowd entertained. However, there was a place for only one winner.

After a short intermission, the top Comprasa group of the evening was awarded the grand prize. The winning went to the San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School lower division by popular demand. They were presented with the grand prize by members of the SPTC and Miss San Pedro Mariel Calderon. The event continued with a street party until the wee hours of the night.
The Carnaval celebrations followed on Sunday, February 11th, with a family fun day titled “Carnaval En Familia” at Boca Del Rio Beach Park. Some activities included painting, exciting games, fun prizes, and a foam party. They also had live entertainment hosted by DJ Debbie and the Island Flame Band. Later in the night, two comparsa groups performed in the downtown streets of San Pedro. Flora Ancona and her group featured a performance called ‘Los Hippies,’ Franciso Mendez’s New Generation Comparsa group featured the Coquette aesthetic. This 2020s fashion trend was characterized by sweet, romantic, and sometimes playful elements.
On Monday, February 12th, the carnival shenanigans started at 4PM with a paint and foam party at Central Park. Parents took their children to the park and the beach for a fun evening of music and painting. Every year, some tourists visit San Pedro during this festive season. They all enjoyed the painting and San Pedrano tradition.

Later in the evening, the celebration continued with another round of comparsa performances. This time, Mendez and his group show featured Colombian drug lord Griselda Blanco y sus Buchonnas.’ Meanwhile, Ancona’s Comparsas featured an army of cupids ushering in Valentine’s Day and sharing good love. The fun night saw what many islanders considered the most anticipated, ‘Los Barbos.’ This involves men dressed as women performing several cumbia and reggaeton beats. They are an island favorite during the San Pedro carnival.
The last night of the festival saw another creative round of street performances, with the Barbos ending the carnival with the performance titled ‘Barbie Girl.’ Meanwhile, Ancona’s crew featured different pageant queens. The New Generation squad reminded onlookers of the national issue the country experienced a couple of weeks ago with the shortage of white sugar. They called their performance ‘No Sugar,’ with members impersonating bakers, cooks, and consumers complaining about the shortage and the issues brought by this national dilemma.

As the comparsa groups made it to the central park, the celebration ended with another massive foam and paint party. To cap off, DJ Debbie was joined on stage by popular Belizean performer Hubee. The foam and paint party turned into a color powder and neon party later in the night. There was ample security around the areas hosting the carnival activities without incidents reported.

The winners of all the carnival competitions were announced on Wednesday, February 14th, by the SPTC. The New Generation Comparsa was declared the winner of this year’s competition, followed by Los Barbos in second place. Mendez thanked everyone who helped his group prepare for the carnival’s competition. “I want to express my gratitude to everyone who supported me in leading my Carnaval group this year. The preparation was challenging, but with Deli Giselle Eiley’s support, we pulled it off successfully,” he said. “Special thanks go out to the dedicated group that believed in me and participated in the three days of the carnaval. Appreciation also goes to the San Pedro Town Council for facilitating the space and providing a truck, making the event smoother for us—a heartfelt thank you to Elmer Flores for translating my musical ideas into reality. DJ Smallz Abner Diaz, thank you for the sound system. San Pedro, thank you for embracing The New Generation Carnaval Comparsa.”

The Carnaval celebrations ended on Wednesday with the burning of Juan Carnaval. To close off the celebration, islanders participate in the reading of Juan Carnaval’s will, followed by the traditional burning of his body. The burning of Juan Carnaval has been an island tradition conducted to expel bad luck and negative energies from the island.
Que Viva el Carnaval! Y que Viva la Tradicion!

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