The 52nd “Fiesta del Mar” will begin Wednesday in the colonial town of Santa Marta on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
The festival, which was originally created to commemorate the town’s founding, has become a celebration of all forms of ocean-based recreation, featuring sports such as water skiing, beach soccer, volleyball, and water polo.
Every year a beauty pageant is held to declare a “queen of the sea,” who is elected for both her beauty and competency in water sports. The Atlantico and Bolivar departments have selected their contestants for the competition, one of which is currently training in water skiing, kayaking, swimming, and sailing to bring home the crown.
There will also be parades, music, dancing and other festivities at the Fiesta del Mar.
Water sports have been essential to the festival’s tradition. In 2010, Santa Marta was recognized by Colombia’s Olympic Committee as the national headquarters for beach and water sports.