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Jul 29, 2005

Contestants arrive for La Reina de la Costa Maya

Story PictureAll the news coming out of San Pedro this week is not related to crime or tragic events. One of the most popular festivals of the entire year is coming up next week on La Isla Bonita… and some very bonita young women are visiting Belize to compete in La Reina de la Costa Maya pageant. News Five met most of the contestants today as they got a sample of Belizean culture and shared a little of their own.

Marisa Salazar, Director, Costa Maya Pageant
?It promises to be a very tight competition. Most of the young ladies that are in our pageant this year have been Miss Universe and Miss World contestants.?

Kimberley Michelle McNab, Miss Honduras
?Well we already know most of each other. We know each other because three of them were in Miss Universe, so they know each other and I know them because we were in another pageant in Guatemala. So it?s nice to see the faces again and get to meet new people and see new faces.?

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
Today five of the contestants in the upcoming Costa Maya Pageant arrived in Belize. The young ladies between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three years old are from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. It is the first time that Nicaragua is participating, but as explained by that country?s representative twenty year old Shantanny Anasha Campbell, she feels right at home.

Shantanny Anasha Campbell, Miss Nicaragua
?Because I am from the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, from Blue Fields and the culture, the food, the different ethnic groups is the same thing like I am just home, the language, the Creole. I am Creole from Nicaragua, so I am very impressed, I am very happy.?

It is twenty-three year old Johanna Fernandez?s first trip to Belize and only the second time that her country, Costa Rica, is taking part in the event. Fernandez says she is only too pleased to be involved in the festivities.

Johanna Fernandez, Miss Costa Rica
?I have to say that from what I have seen, it?s a great place. We are getting to know more about the culture, so I feel very proud of representing my country Costa Rica and I hope that I am going to be the next Reina La Costa.?

Twenty year old Kimberley Michelle McNab, Miss Honduras, has not only been forging friendships, but is using the occasion to visit with family living in Belize.

Kimberly Michelle McNab
?Well its actually an honour and a pleasure to be here because I have heard so much about Belize and I have family here, so the pageant has helped me to come closer or to have the chance to come and represent Honduras.?

Two months, ago nineteen year old Aida Karina Estrada Abril represented Guatemala in the Miss Universe Pageant. Today she is just happy to be a part of a regional contest that she believes builds relationships between the neighbouring countries.

Aida Karina Estrada Abril, Miss Guatemala
?We invite you to visit us. It?s a good country, we have beautiful picturesque lakes, we have rivers, oceans, it?s a good country.?

It is also eighteen year old Irma Dimas?s first visit to Belize, but she is not shying away from the fun.

Irma Dimas, Miss El Salvador
?I feel that it?s an honour for me to be here, a pleasure to be here representing my country. And so I am very happy. It?s my first time here in Belize, so I?m enjoying the time.?

Marisa Salazar, Director, Costa Maya Pageant
?The idea behind the pageant is to strengthen the friendship between the participating countries. We are glad that other Central American countries and coming and forming part of the Costa Maya Festival. We want to make it more international and show that world what Central America and Belize, which is both Central American and Caribbean, is all about.?

One of the first activities the young ladies enjoyed was a tour through The Old Belize Museum situated on the Western Highway.

Marisa Salazar
?Well we wanted to show them what Belize was all about and not only the island. We wanted them to have an experience of what the nation Belize is all about.?

However, as these visiting delegates enjoy what Belize has to offer they are all looking forward to taking back more than just memories… the title of La Reina De La Costa Maya.

Kimberly Michael McNab
?You really want to conserve the friendship since it is a small group, but we all know deep down inside it?s a competition, so we all have to be at our best, smile at our best, do everything that we have to do.?

Absent from today’s line up of contestants were Miss Mexico, Maria Rosado Solis, who arrived in Belize late this evening. Miss Belize Andrea Elrington is unable to participate in the pageant, however, Belizean Opal Enriquez, who was crowned Miss Pan-American International will represent the country. Enriquez, who is a model living in Los Angeles, California, is scheduled to arrive in the country on Saturday. The Costa Maya Pageant takes place on August fourth in San Pedro Town. The event officially opens the annual four-day Costa Maya Festival.

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