Junior Batabano is a showcase for Cayman kids’ energy and imagination

The brilliant Junior Batabano and Family Fun Day takes place on Saturday, 27 April and will be a joyous occasion. 

Wendyann George of the Batabano committee tells us that the bash is set to be the best ever. 

“This year the parade is back at the Glass House in George Town and there is a family fun day that starts at 1pm. The parade is 3pm. 

“We will have face painting and lots of fun activities that the whole family can enjoy as usual. There is great food from some of the PTAs; things like cotton candy, snow cones, hamburgers, hot dogs and all of those crazy things,” she says. 

There are eight schools taking part; St Ignatius, Prospect Primary, Cayman Prep and High, East End Primary, Cayman International School, Savannah Primary, Bodden Town Primary and George Town Primary and this year’s theme for the parade is The Secrets of the Wings. 

“You will be seeing lots of costumes with wings,” says Wendyann. 

Some ingenious versions of that theme so far include Wings of War and Peace, Wings of Song and Jungle Fever to name but three different approaches that have been utilised by the participants. 

“There’s also pesky creatures, flies – you will see a variety of very colourful costumes for the parade.” 

About the event 

Cayman Carnival Junior Batabano is a family-friendly festival for the islands’ youth. Introduced in 2002, this colourful cultural showcase marks its 11th anniversary this year. Junior Carnival has grown from a small program that preceded the adult parade to its very own one-day event. 

The goal of Junior Carnival Batabano, say organisers, is to create a safe, fun and creative environment for youth to play mas and to teach the art of costume making for generations to come. 

“Before 2002 it was always part of the adult parade and it was decided that it would be good to have a day just for the juniors to have fun, where the parents would have time to be with them. Before this, parents might be part of the adult parade so couldn’t enjoy the junior parade. 

“So we decided that this would be a whole day for the young people. The event in general runs until around 5.30pm,” says Wendyann. 

 

Teen dance 

Of course, between the adults and the younger Batabanoers there’s also a whole other generation which is why the Batabano committee has introduced a teen dance. 

“This is at KRI Dance Studios from 7pm to 11pm that same evening. DJ Flex of Unity Entertainment will be there and we will have teachers, parents and the Batabano committee in attendance. 

“We will have a fun-filled dance where the teens can dance and enjoy themselves for sure,” she notes. 

 

About Batabano 

2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the carnival which makes it all the more special an event. 

Launched in 1983 by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, Cayman Carnival Batabano is held annually and is a vibrant highlight in the island’s entertainment calendar. 

The festival’s original name, Batabano, is a salute to Cayman’s turtling heritage. The word batabano refers to the tracks left in the sand by sea turtles as they crawl onto the beach to nest. Finding these tracks was – and still is – a reason to celebrate, say organisers. 

Carnival itself is a premier cultural celebration in the Caribbean – a kaleidoscope of music, dance and pageantry with roots mirroring the region’s diverse history of African and religious influences. Colourful costumes reflect the vibrant landscapes, heritage and culture, with the music the very rhythm of island life. Carnival in the Cayman Islands has a distinct flavour as the islands are home to a melting pot of over 100 nationalities – one country celebrating many cultures, in other words. 

During carnival, districts and corporate groups join together to compete and showcase creative costumes, choreography and floats. The energy of Cayman Carnival Batabano is electrifying, with thousands of locals and visitors flocking to the streets to enjoy the spirited parade, which is all about expression. 

The fete was renamed Cayman Carnival Batabano to bring it more in line with traditional Caribbean carnivals, and today it is organized by a volunteer committee chaired by Donna Myrie-Stephen. The carnival has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception, including the addition of a carnival for youth. 

With the costumes, choreography and festivities becoming more elaborate each year, Cayman Carnival Batabano is a much-anticipated event. It is a time to celebrate local surroundings, to showcase creativity, to voice social issues and, of course, to party and unite – and there’s nothing like a great party to bring people together, the Batabano folks sagely report. 

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