FCCA conference gets cultural

A great big Caymanian welcome is to be bestowed on the some 1,000 expected delegates for the forthcoming Florida Caribbean Cruise Association’s conference taking place in Grand Cayman next month.

This Caymanian welcome is to involve distinctive Caymanian elements of culture and heritage incorporating the arts, food and tradition.

The conference takes place from 31 October to 3 November, with host hotels the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, the Westin Casuarina Resort and with Sunshine Suites as the overflow hotel.

Three specific evenings will showcase Cayman’s myriad cultural traditions, arts and fare.

Mr. Shomari Scott, recently announced as the newly promoted deputy director International Marketing with the Department of Tourism, says this is, as far as he can remember, the most important trade show conference brought to the Cayman Islands in order to showcase it.

It will help to display what is Caymanian not only to US cruise executives, but to visiting tour operators and Ministers from other Caribbean nations.

With regard to the conference being successful and memorable, he said: ‘We want this to be the benchmark that other Caribbean islands would like to reach’.

At the welcome party on opening night, which takes place Tuesday 31 October at the Ritz Carlton’s beach, the theme is ‘diversity within’. It celebrates the different cultures that co-exist in the Cayman Islands, explained Mr. Scott.

There will be different international dishes that everyone can taste, with Caymanian and Caribbean dishes included in the mix.

A skit, created with the help of poet Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette, will tell the story of the Cayman Islands through poetry, miming and dance.

‘Even though it’s diversity within, we still want to hit them hard with Caymanian culture,’ he said.

Hi-Tide, Kay Kay and Impulse will perform, as well as Devon Edie who will play saxophone during dinner.

At the Night Extravaganza on Wednesday, 1 November at Boatswain’s Beach the theme is ‘all things Caymanian’.

‘That’s the night that we definitely showcase Cayman as it was back yonder and as it is today,’ said Mr. Scott.

Boatswain’s Beach is the perfect setting, said Mr. Scott, as the Caymanian Village is scheduled to be ready for this special event. The décor for the night will be traditional seafaring, with turtle netting and catboats on display.

Following on the cultural theme, the MCs on stage will be dressed in old Caymanian dress, while on entering the foyer of the main reception building, Native Sons will be there displaying their local artwork.

Different food booths will be laid out around Boatswain’s Beach. Even a caboose will be set up where fried fish and fritters will be made and Cayman Traditional Arts will have a heavy cake making demonstration, with the final product available for tasting. Many other local dishes and authentic Caymanian food will be on offer also.

Swanky Kitchen Band and Los Tropicanos will keep the vibe lively, with a third band to be confirmed.

The Royal Watler Cruise Terminal is the setting for the conference closing party on Thursday, 2 November, with a celebration of Cayman’s festivals: the Batabano/Pirates Week night.

Mr. Scott explained the importance of this venue. ‘The port and the country wanted to showcase the new port facilities to all the cruise executives and all of the tour operators coming to the conference.’

The night will certainly be a shared event, with half Pirates Week and half Batabano décor. There will be a mini Pirates Week invasion on stage, and Batabano dancers and a steel pan performance will also feature. A lively cultural skit and a junkanoo parade in carnival style will add to the festivities.

Heat, Footloose and In Transit will all lend their music to the atmosphere.

Each of the nights will also have the National Gallery and the National Trust on board with different displays. The organisers are also working with the Cayman National Cultural Foundation and performances will include Dance Unlimited.

The opening ceremony on Wednesday morning at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, may include quadrille dancers, if they can be sourced by DoT, or else a high school band.

From as soon as delegates arrive they will be touched with elements of Caymanian culture, such as being presented with, say, a traditional mint wrapped in thatch on their arrival, as part of a welcome pack.

The organising committee is comprised of individuals from both the public and private sector.

FYI

If you would like to volunteer to help out at the conference contact Virginia Dixon at the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau on 945-0943.

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