Get ready! Batabano is here

Watch out! Cayman is about to get a whole lot more colourful.

Batabano, is just round the corner, bringing with it the usual slew of parades, parties, and festive fun.

Official dates are confirmed as Saturday, 28 April for the second annual Junior Carnival, and Saturday, 5 May for the Adult Street Parade.

Masqueraders

Masqueraders at last years Batabano Adult Street Parade make their way down the Seven Mile Strip. Photos: File

Expect plenty of revelery, carnival antics, loud music and equally loud costumes as masqueraders dance their way down the parade routes.

This year’s roster of events also includes an extravagant Masquerade Fete on Thursday, 3 May at Pedro Castle, and a concert on the following Friday, featuring Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, as well as Trinidadian soca artist Iwer George; winner of the International Soca Monarch competition and a mainstay on the soca music scene for the past 16 years.

Last year’s Junior Batabano was such a success that it makes a welcome return to the line-up of events.

According to organizers up to twice the number of schools and students are participating in the junior event this year, which has further grown with the addition of a new teen section, plugging the age gap between the two parades and ensuring all ages can get involved.

The venue for the junior parade remains the same as last year, with the parade beginning at the Glass House and continuing through the centre of town.

‘Last year’s historic launch of the first street parade dedicated solely for Cayman’s students and youth groups received overwhelming support from parents, schools, and the general public,’ said Cayman Carnival Batabano Chairperson Donna Myrie-Stephen. ‘We are really excited to be welcoming the juniors back to Batabano this year.’

Afterward the festivities will continue with a Family Fun Day complete with bouncy castle, cotton candy and prizes, followed by the Junior Song Competition from 6pm.

The Adult Street Parade also continues on the same route as last year starting at the Marquee Plaza and heading down West Bay Road into the heart of George Town.

New to this year’s adult parade, and adding an element of authenticity, will be an arts and crafts market in George Town and booths selling refreshments and local dishes.

Onlookers of both parades are whole-heartedly encouraged to become involved in the party atmosphere, be it donning their own costume, dancing with the masqueraders or simply soaking up the carnival atmosphere and taking in the dazzling array of spectacular costumes.

‘Batabano is such a fun event and we want everyone to come out, enjoy it and get involved,’ said Ms Myrie-Stephen.

To kick-start the carnival mood, organizers are encouraging attending the fetes.

Byron Lee and the Dragonaires – performing at both fetes – promise to get everyone in the party mood. With some 50 years experience in the music industry, Byron Lee has proved a firm favourite with Batabano partygoers, returning for the third time in the carnival’s 23-year history.

Like last year, the Masquerade Fete is being held under the stars in the grounds of Pedro St. James, and will offer an evening of dining, dancing and entertainment.

Organisers are promising an ‘extravagant, up-market event’, complete with a champagne reception, sumptuous Caribbean buffet, silent auction and an art exhibition by Nelson Gallery.

Samples of this years colourful and larger than life Batabano costumes will be showcased at the event, whetting guest’s appetite for the main street parade.

The Friday Night Fete at Safehaven will be a fun-filled night with music by Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, guest artist Trinidadian soca artist Iwer George, and a slew of local acts, including Coco Red who will open the event and DJ Jazzy B from Vibe FM spinning the tunes.

With the slogan All Nations; One Celebration, Batabano has grown over the years to encompass a full spectrum of events.

“The Batabano committee strives to ensure the development of this wonderful, colourful and cultural event,’ Ms Myrie-Stephen said.

Launched by the Rotary Club in 1984, the one-day festival has grown to become one of the highlights of Cayman’s entertainment calendar.

‘Batabano has become an integral part of our islands,’ Mrs Myrie-Stephen said. ‘We encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the fun.’

Let the carnival begin!

For more details on how you can be a part of the fun and festivities visit www.caymancarnival.com

FOR THE TEENS

The newly added teen section this year has been conceived and designed by 13-year-old local student and budding artist Keri Lawrence.

“Keri was obviously highly motivated to participate in Batabano and already had sketches of her group’s costumes and a theme for the section,” said Ms Myrie-Stephen in a press release. “We felt we just had to support her and the group.”

Keri’s drawings were shown to Richard Bartholomew, the renowned carnival designer based in Trinidad and Tobago.

The theme for Keri’s teen section is Fire and Ice. Keri has recruited the twenty teens from a variety of schools for her group and designed the main banner.

Asked how she came up with the idea, Keri admits to a pure love of carnival and being heavily influenced by the Trinidad event.

JUNIOR SONG COMPETITION

The second annual Junior Song Competition will follow the Family Fun Day.

Competitors will be required to perform one upbeat song with Caribbean flare.

Prizes will be awarded, including brand new cell phones from Cable and Wireless.

Trophies and studio recording time will also be awarded to competition winners.

Application forms for the second annual Junior Song Competition are available on the Batabano website, www.caymancarnival.com and should be returned to Le Classique by this Saturday.

EVENT SCHEDULE

Saturday, 28 April

Junior Street Parade, starting at the Glass House from 3pm. Family Fun Day at the Glass House, from 5pm, followed by the Junior Song Competition, 6pm, also at the Glass House.

Thursday, 3 May

Masquerade Fete at Pedro, 6.30pm to midnight. Featuring a Caribbean buffet, silent auction, art show by Nelson Gallery and entertainment by Byron Lee and the Dragonaires. $100, $1,000 for a table of 10.

Friday, 4 May

Friday Night Fete with Byron Lee and Iwer George at Safehaven, from 9pm. Tickets are $25 pre-sold, $30 at the gate.

Saturday, 5 May

Adult Street Parade, starting from the Marquee Plaza at 3pm, and making its way up to Harbour Drive.

Tickets

Tickets for the Masquerade Fete and the Friday Night Fete are available by calling Camille Short, 926-2065, Lana Cayasso, 916-4331 or Le Classique on 949-7105.

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