The Colombian city of Pereira celebrates its 148th Anniversary on Tuesday, complete with a giant birthday cake, a “Happy Birthday” musical performance by Colombian pop singer Jhonny Rivera, and “the best fireworks Colombia has seen.”
Pereira Mayor Israel Londoño told Colombia Reports that “every year, on August 30, we celebrate with various special activities, but this year is different because the [birthday] coincides with the celebration of the World Cup U-20 2011.” The city closed down the central Carrera Septima from Calle 14 to Calle 24 and declared a city-wide half-day work holiday so that everyone, civic employees included, could celebrate and take part in the festivities.
As the city grows one year older and wiser, the mayor commented that “the city is positively changing, it has become a bigger city – with more vehicles, motorcycles, and people – and it is changing positively in the sense that they have made more public investments, new businesses have arrived, and we have collaborated with the construction of five new schools, three new centers for training and learning, and a new soccer stadium for the U-20 World Cup, as well as a lot of investment in parks, and the recovery of roadways and sidewalks in the city.”
All afternoon, the anniversary celebration included cultural activities and musical events to celebrate the legacy of the coffee-region city that has recently been added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. Sound stages were also set up in the main parks Plaza de Bolivar, Parque La Libertad, and Parque el Lago, to broadcast musical performances.
The Pereira mayor seemed excited about this year’s birthday party, but mentioned that although Tuesday’s party was full of events, the best is yet to come for the city’s 150th celebration. Londoño said that the preparation for the 150th party has already started, with regular meetings in which city planners are developing their ideas for new “big projects” for the big birthday celebration, as well as taking a closer look at “the city’s urban planning.”
According to the mayor, the most memorable birthday of the city so far was in 1963 when Pereira turned 100 years old, because “what they did for the city was very beautiful, and everyone who was there during that time remembers partaking in the celebration.”
Londoño said his birthday wish for the city this year is “a special invitation to all Pereira residents to attend and participate with us, and the most important [thing] is to invite everyone from the United States to come and get to know Pereira.”