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CENTRAL AMERICAN GAMES, NAFTA CONFERENCE, FESTIVALS AND EL CONQUISTADOR OPENING HIGHLIGHT SCHEDULE FOR PUERTO RICO'S 500TH BIRTHDAY

 SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Aug. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- A gala schedule of events -- ranging from art, street festivals and politics to the Olympic-style competition of the Central American Games -- was unveiled today for the celebration of Puerto Rico's "500th birthday party" this fall.
 "Tourists from all over the world are coming to our island to join in the birthday festivities," said Luis Fortu$o, Executive Director, Puerto Rico Tourism Company.
 Events in the celebration already are going on, although the official Quincentennial Celebration begins with an opening ceremony at the Fine Arts Center on November 8 and ends with a grand finale on November 21. The 500th birthday of Puerto Rico is November 19.
 Among the highlights of the "party" are:
 -- The XVII Central American and Caribbean Sports Games beginning November 19, bringing together in Ponce approximately 4,300 athletes from 29 countries, a major event in the world sports calendar between the Barcelona Olympics last year and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
 -- The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Conference opening November 7 in San Juan, a meeting of the Foreign Ministers and Ministers of Finance of Latin American and Caribbean nations on the proposed NAFTA treaty, which would revamp economic relations throughout the Western Hemisphere.
 -- The Puerto Rico International Film Festival, November 10-22, with more than 100 entries from 40 countries. More than last year's 35,000 persons are expected to attend this third annual festival which has, in its short existence, already been hailed as the finest film festival in Latin America and is bidding to become one of the world's top film events. Film stars from many nations are scheduled to be on hand.
 -- The grand opening of the 924-room deluxe El Conquistador Resort and Country Club in Fajardo.
 -- A gigantic and colorful closing ceremony on November 21 featuring fireworks, a laser show, live music, and other events which will be telecast to a number of nations.
 Among the most popular events for tourists are expected to be two outstanding exhibitions of "areytos," typical Puerto Rican dances
 -- the Old San Juan Areytos on November 18, a carnival-type celebration including amusement parks, live show, and handicraft exhibitions in the streets and town squares, and the Municipal Areytos on Ponce de Leon Avenue, San Juan on November 20.
 Even before the official opening, the three-week Inter-American Festival of the Arts, featuring classical, popular and folk music, ballet, modern dance productions and musical theater, will open September 20 at the Performing Arts Center in San Juan.
 Also on the early schedule are:
 -- The San Juan Cinemafest, October 14-24 -- a Caribbean festival of television productions, videos, documentaries and short films. Theaters throughout the island will take part and local universities and colleges will host forums and seminars on film art and production.
 -- The International Art Critics Convention, September 26 - October 3, bringing together more than 150 noted critics from 66 countries to study and discuss Latin American art's substantial contribution to Western art. Nineteen papers in four different areas will be presented.
 -- The opening of the six-team Puerto Rican professional baseball season in October, including a number of major and minor league players from the United States and Canada.
 Also on tap early are the Puerto Rico Quincentennial Philatelic Exhibition at Plaza Las Americas starting September 25 and the Gold Museum of Peru Exhibition, at the Museum of the Americas from October 18-31.
 Foreign delegations and dignitaries are expected to arrive, November 5-7, and the official opening ceremony will be at the Fine Arts Center on November 8.
 For further information on Puerto Rico, contact the Puerto Rico Tourism Company: in New York, 575 Fifth Avenue, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10017, (212) 599-6262 or (800) 223-6530; in Miami, 200 S.E. First Street, Suite 700, Miami, FL 33131, (305) 381-8915; in Los Angeles, 3575 W. Cahuenga Boulevard, Suite 560, Los Angeles, CA 90068, (213) 874-5991; or in Canada, (416) 969-9025. To order brochures, call 1-800-STAR, ext. 55.
 -0- 8/17/93
 /CONTACT: Joan Bloom, Gareth Edmondson-Jones, Hill and Knowlton, Inc., 420 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10017, 212-697-5600/


CO: Puerto Rico Tourism ST: IN: LEI SU:

LG -- NY045 -- 3504 08/17/93 11:32 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 17, 1993
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