I’ve already posted quite a few pictures of the early morning Band Fest parade in Belmopan in Part One and Part Two. The kids were marching 2 miles to the FFB Stadium in heat that was quickly rising over 90 degrees and it had just turned 9 o’clock. This is going to be a doozy.
Let’s finish off the parade! Though kids in cute band costumes? I can’t get enough.
From St. Luke’s Marching Band
The grand champions Corozal Community College.
Cutie from the fishing village of Sartaneja.
The tiniest trumpet player I’ve ever.
The kids marched and danced down to the stadium in the relentless sun in their full uniform. Mothers and medics furiously passed out waters, fans and juices. Some of the smaller kids needed to take breaks and ride in cars or on the shoulders of their parents.
It does not get this hot on the caye.
The tumbling teams put on quite a show. Our locals kids from Dangriga were totally impressive.
Then came the Jesse White tumblers from Chicago. Veterans of performance at lots of NBA half time shows.
The brought of the mini-trampoline and the mat and really got off the ground. At the end of the day, they ending up donating all of their mats to the Dangriga team…pretty cool.
I arrived at the Federal Football Field of Belize just as the festival was starting. And just in time for another tumbling team performance.
But first I saw this crazy looking house being built on a man made hill behind the stadium. Apparently the new mansion of the guy who owns the Puma gas station chain.
Seriously? It looks like something straight out of Dr. Suess. Miles and miles of open land and this house needs to go straight up? It’s HUGE.
I took a seat on the packed metal bleachers and immediately started sweating. I could not believe how many people were watching in this heat. Did I mention that I have never felt hotter in my entire life?
I’m not going to make it. I watched about 20 minutes of the next band and…had…to…get…out…of…there. I later heard that a few kids were taken to away by ambulance and four members of just the San Pedro squad fainted. Not surprising.
I made one quick stop at the Belikin tent on the way out…it was way too hot for even beer but I did catch some games of chance…
I also stopped at the Belize National football teams’ office to buy a ticket for the night game vs. Trinidad and Tobago. The team was eating lunch and I got to meet a few of the guys. Good stuff.
I hopped into a taxi and went to the coolest spot in town, Chon Saan Palace. And watched the band fest from this seat with my #3 special. You can call me a quitter…I don’t mind one bit. Self preservation.
I then retreated to my air conditioned hotel room to watch the rest. Far more civilized.
The temperature had dropped about 20 degrees by the time I arrived at the night game. I was early and the team was warming up.
By half time, the stands were packed and the crowd was really into it. I’m guessing they sold a few thousand tickets? Belize looked like the better team but the match ended 0-0. The Belize crowd seemed more than satisfied.
Super fun. It seemed like every Belizean was in Belmopan this weekend. It’s one of the things that I love about this country. No matter where you are…you know someone. I ran into the immigration officer who processed my residency a few years ago, the guys from the San Pedro post office, two guys I met in Hopkins 2 years ago…I even took the bus back to Belize City the next day with a few members of the Belize national team.
But most importantly, let me leave you with some heat stroke avoidance tips for the next Band Fest in Belize.
IMPERATIVE equipment for attending Band Fest: An umbrella. You are just a egg cooking in the sun without it. Plenty of liquids. Keep drinking water, coconut water, juice…whatever you can get your hands on. Wash Cloth or Bandanas. Lots of them. Often I feel like the only one sweating in Belize, locals usually look clean, dry and comfortable while I am sporting a wet back and a sweat moustache. Not at this event. EVERYONE is a mess.