Sunday, December 8, 2013

Celebration and Parade in Atenas

This Friday, we attended a party at our Central Park in Atenas.  We call it a party because that is what our kids call it.  When we drive by, usually on our way to the CoopeAtenas or to run errands, Max and Sara get a great opportunity to check out the park, their favorite place in town.  Since living here, we have been to at least 8 parties, most with bouncy houses, trampolines, caramel apples, meats on sticks and in tortillas, cotton candy, clowns, parades, live music and much more. We have only been here just over 7 months, so the likelihood of there being a party is good. My kids must have near perfect eyesight, because they can spot a bouncy house from a mile away. This is usually followed by them elevating their voices and excitement level plus a series of begging and manipulation, compounded with a little crying if the truck does not stop immediately. See, our kids have never been declined an opportunity to stop at one of these parties, since we are easy, and we know they will explode if not allowed to bounce.
So, this Friday, we had no problem stopping since we had several small stops to make via foot in town, but we quickly noticed many of the vendors were still setting up their equipment.  This became a problem, since not all kids completely understand patience, namely ours. I left my wonderful husband, Matt to deal with the madness while I went to a quick doctors appointment for my 8th month of pregnancy. While visiting with my doctor, his daughter and translator told me the party did not start until 6pm and would be a parade of lights for Christmas. While this sounds fun, it also sounds like a challenge since my kids were ready to party NOW.

So, off to the park I waddled to meet up with the rest of the family. Matt was sweating and had a look on his face, like we need to go now! See, since none of the vendors were quite ready for us, we became a nuisance and the kids just got in the way. The fellow running the bouncy house was nice enough to let them jump for a while, but apparently all the other temptations were disrupting the party setup. So after much bribing and negotiating, we finally got the kiddos in the truck. They screamed for a while, then we finally explained that it was a night party and we promised to go back in a few hours. So we went home and made some busy work for them to keep them occupied. We headed back to the park around 4:30 and it was hopping. The festivities were under way and the kids were absolutely ecstatic. It is always nice being able to follow through with a promise to your kids. I think, even at 2 & 4 they actually appreciated it and learned something.
So they bounced & had some cotton candy and we even indulged them in fancy glowing toys, a sword for Max and a squishy monster for Sara. Max even got to ride a mechanical reindeer bull. As the sun began to set, around 5:15 the park lit up with twinklings of Christmas, music, games and all sorts of glowing objects. Many businesses were lit with light strings and several Christmas trees perched around the church and square. The streets were roped off, as usual and the parade began promptly at 6:00. Max located several of his friends from school and sat on the curb next to them during the parade. Sara sits on Matt's shoulders and I, being 8 months pregnant, was lucky enough to be offered a seat on a park bench, after I filled my plate, naturally. The pupusa with bean & shredded cabbage was awesome along with $2 meat on a stick and some plantain ceviche - just what the doctor ordered:)
The parade was perfectly executed, since they get so much practice, and the entertainers were awesome. The drummers are always great with the men on stilts walking to the beat.
The belly dancers (ages 4 & up) were precious, but my favorite was from Max's school, Colina Azul, with a display of Nativity featuring a very young Joseph, Mary with baby, and angels.
While it seems like everyone in town comes to these parties, they never get too crowded or out of control. They are very family oriented and safe. I remember waiting once a year for the county fair to come around in Texas when I was growing up. Now we live in Atenas, Costa Rica and we get a fair once a month! This is such a great place to raise a family and nurture our new lifestyle.
No matter if we say, Feliz Navidad or Merry Christmas, everyone understands us. The kids have already started singing along to Feliz Navidad and we drove home looking at some great Christmas lights around the hills of Atenas. 


  1. Sounds like you all had as much fun as we did! Our 3 year old thought it was a party thrown just for him! =) Nothing like a bouncy house, glow toys, face painting, a blue Santa, and a dazzling parade to get us ready for our first Christmas in Costa Rica!

  2. Hi Emily, thanks for sharing and Yes, it is all about the kids, but we had fun too! I have a feeling there will be many more events like this one. See you there! Feliz Navidad!


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