There may be more people in the parade than lining the streets but that’s what makes Little Cayman’s annual Mardi Gras Festival so unique.
‘It’s probably the one event that everybody gets involved in,’ said Ken Thompson, manager of Southern Cross Club.
‘It’s about community. Everyone looks forward to it.’
Saturday’s festivities made a big impression on tourist David Craig and his family who were visiting the island from Toronto.
‘We loved it. It’s a lot of fun.’
And that’s the whole point.
A fundraiser for the National Trust, Mardi Gras is a popular attraction on the island – some visitors even plan their annual vacation around it. The parade may be small but it’s definitely big on creativity. The locals put in countless hours creating innovative floats and costumes in a friendly rivalry to capture first-prize honours. Trying to out-do each other has become a Mardi Gras tradition.
‘The costumes are amazing,’ said Frank Roulstone of the National Trust who judged the entries with the Trust’s Lois Blumenthal and visiting geologist Dr. Murray Roed.
‘It was a difficult decision. But it’s a lot of fun and that’s the main thing. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.’
This year’s parade celebrated people’s roots with the theme: ‘Where are you from or where do you want to go.’
Pirate’s Point Resort continued its winning streak by capturing first place in the resort category for the eighth year in a row for its elaborate float Texas. Oregon won best resident float, the creation of Rev. Dan Shroy and Michael and Linda O’Connell.
Ken Thompson’s colourful King Neptune won best male costume and Betty Bua won best female costume for her detailed Indian outfit.
Special awards were presented to Tom and Diana Hernandez for their off-the-wall Mardi Gras motorcycle entry and to the Baha’i faith float designed by Bob and Debbie Truchan for its message of peace.
Given the National Trust’s focus on the environment, the judges came up with a category of their own – awards for the most environmentally unfriendly entries. Receiving the ‘honours’ – Gone Fishin’ for catching Nemo and not releasing him; the oil rigs in Pirates Point Texas float and Rev. Dan Shroy’s chainsaw-wielding lumberjack in Oregon.
After the parade wound its way from Head O’Bay to the airport, the party continued with a dinner and dance at Southern Cross Club.