Following Costa Rican tradition, this year’s town fiesta in Samara was rich in culture and bull riding. For the second year in a row, the fiestas were held in downtown Samara, although this year the majority of events were held on the same property around the bull-riding ring, rather than having some attractions in the plaza, and a large number of people turned out to enjoy the activities.
One highlight on Tuesday, December 27th, was the crowning of the fiesta’s queen, 13-year-old Martha Larissa Valencia Marin from El Torito of Samara. Valencia said the announcement made an impact on her because she was expecting the winner to be another girl. She relates that many of her family, including relatives from Nicoya, San Jose and Liberia, turned out to support her in her efforts to win the crown, buying tickets to the dance held in the community hall that night.
Another highlight Saturday afternoon, the 31st, was the traditional parade of horses. Originally scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m., the event was switched to Saturday so as not to compete with the fiestas in Hojancha on Sunday, explained Freddy Mendoza Elizondo, president of the commission for the fiestas. The horses, riders and others gathered near the beach in Cangrejal, where they enjoyed music, traditional food such as ceviche and chicharrones, and a raffle for a saddle. At the beginning of the parade, second lady of the fiestas Maria Isabel Alfaro fell from one of the horses and had to be taken to the hospital for a possible fractured ankle.
The event raised funds to support the formation of Samara’s new cooperative, COOPESAMARA. Marco Antonio Campos Campos, director of the cooperative, indicated that they needed $1100 to get the legal identification for the cooperative, and the event collected about $1300.
From Wednesday through Sunday, spectators enjoyed traditional bull riding each evening, accompanied by music and announcements from Sonido 3, which was recently named the best bullfighting sound team in Costa Rica based on a poll conducted on Facebook, according to Sonido 3’s co-owner Rafael Galagarza Gutierrez.
On Saturday night, many were delighted to watch the nationally-renowned bull El Chirriche send one more rider to the ground. Although more than 100 riders have mounted the bull through the years, only one has managed to stay on a full 8 seconds, according to the announcer. Some daring fellows braved the bulls on the floor of the ring, even throwing around a soccer ball to tempt the bulls to play. As the new year approached on Saturday night, three hours before midnight, with one bull left in the evening’s lineup, Sonido 3 played a recorded prayer of thanks to God. And at midnight, fireworks lit the sky.
The fiesta’s president Mendoza, as well as private security personnel, reported that the fiestas ran smoothly as normal, although the location in downtown Samara was disputed by some people again this year “It’s a problem with the foreigners because they don’t like the noise and this is a tradition of ours,” Mendoza explained, indicating that Ticos generally don’t complain about the noise and understand that the fiestas mean money for the town and they are there to enjoy themselves.
The fiestas are a primary source of funds for town projects, administered by Samara’s Progressive Association. This year’s earnings will help support the high school located in El Torito of Samara. Leida Maria Espinoza Matarrita, president of the administrative board for the high school and a vocal for the Progressive Association said that they need to build classrooms, finish closing in the school and putting up a fence.