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The Occoquan Tourism Company

  • Writer's pictureEarnie Porta

Baron Bliss Day

Baron Bliss

The final day of Team Occoquan-Prince William's 4-day, 170-mile canoe race in the 2019 La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge takes place on Monday, March 11, which is when Belize celebrates the national holiday known as Baron Bliss Day. Belizeans celebrate the holiday in honor of an English national benefactor, Henry Edward Ernest Victor Bliss (the "Baron" title is a family title from Portugal).

In 1926, while sailing in the Caribbean, Bliss fell victim to food poisoning and accepted the invitation of Belize's attorney general to harbor in Belize. On March 9, however, before he was able even to set foot in the country, he succumbed to his sickness. Prior to dying, however, Bliss set up a trust whose income is to be used for the benefit of Belize and its citizens. Bliss set some additional conditions for the administration of the trust. Money cannot be used for churches, dance halls, or schools (except agricultural and vocational schools). Nor can any American be a trustee or employee of a trustee. Part of the trust was also designated for an annual boat regatta, which is today at the heart of Baron Bliss Day activities in Belize City.

Baron Bliss Tomb at the Fort George Lighthouse

Over the last 100 years the Bliss Trust has spent more than $1 million on health centers, libraries, a performing arts center, and the Fort George Lighthouse, where Baron Bliss's tomb resides today. When Team Occoquan-Prince William crosses the finish line of its 170-mile race on March 11 near the Swing Bridge in Belize City, we will be participating in Belizeans' celebration of this national benefactor.

Team Occoquan-Prince William will be participating in the Belikin La Ruta Maya 2019 Belize River Challenge March 8 through March 11. Please consider supporting our efforts as we compete and raise funds for ACTS and CASA of Prince William. You can pledge 10 cents, 20 cents, or more per mile of our 170-mile journey by clicking here and filling out the pledge form. We will collect from you after the race and your entire pledge will go to ACTS and CASA.

And please remember our sponsors!


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