The 100-meter hurdles Pan American champion, Andrea Vargas, her sister Noelia and her mother Dixiana Mena, were appointed Marshals of the 2019 Costa Rican Festival of Light. This event brings together more than one million people and is held once a year in December. Being a Marshal of this festival is an important recognition because it represents an inspirational figure loved and respected by the Costa Rican people.

Andrea Vargas is the first athlete from Costa Rica to have won a Pan American gold medal, and she is also the first to qualify for the next Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. For her part, Sister Noelia Vargas is a Central American marching champion and a great promise of Costa Rican athletics. Dixina Mena, Andrea and Noelia’s mother and coach is an example, of the working mom and at the same time a self-taught coach.

Athlete Andrea Vargas commented, “for me it is an honor to be one of the marshals of the festival of light, for many people, darkness is the absence of light, for me, light means hope and it is what gives us the opportunity to have an optimistic life, be positive and work for what we love most, I hope we all enjoy and have fun”.

Also, Vargas said that now that he lives abroad he appreciates being a Costa Rican and he is proud to represent his country in every sporting event.

What is the Festival of Light?

The Festival of Light is a popular event that takes place in the capital San José, in which parades with floats, masquerades, live music, and fireworks are held. Being held in December, it is customary to be associated with the end of the year festivities in the Costa Rican capital.

This festival originated in 1996, when the Municipality of San José organized the first parade with floats and the best marching bands in the country, which, along their tour of the “Paseo Colón” and “Avenida Segunda”, give Costa Ricans a great show of color and joy, within the Christmas framework in which this activity is celebrated.

All the television media stations in Costa Rica dedicate a special coverage to this festival, during it, there is also a large presence of foreign tourists visiting the country just for this event and they are attracted by the magic, spectacle, creativity, and diversity that is lived in San José during that day.

It is a unique and unparalleled experience, on the second Saturday of December. Starting at 6:00 pm, an extravaganza of fireworks light up the city of San José, starting from the roofs of the Banco Nacional, Banco de Crédito Agrícola, Banco de Costa Rica and Parque La Sabana indicating that the Festival is beginning, coming to the parade from the National Gymnasium towards the Paseo Colón and the Second Avenue and finishing at the Plaza de la Democracia.

Awards are given within the context of the “Festival of Light”:

1. Floats: Each year that the festival takes place, the floats that participate in various categories that are rewarded: the float that shines the most, with the greatest originality, greater elegance, best mobile elements, best light effects.

2. Marching Bands: In this category, the only band that does not receive any award is the San José municipal band that, although participating in the event, it is considered “not in the contest”.

If you decide to visit Costa Rica in December, do not hesitate to go to the city of San José and enjoy the joy, color, music, and magic of the Christmas season that is enjoyed in this Festival of Light.

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