Get on board with Batabano

Sequins, feathers, music and revelry will fill the streets this weekend as Cayman Carnival Batabano returns for its 31st year.  

An intrinsic part of Caribbean culture, Batabano starts Friday with the “Touch the Sky” happy hour from 5 p.m. at the Sky Lounge bar, George Town, with live entertainment from visiting musicians the Caribbean Divas and popular Trinidadian soca artist Oscar B. 

The main event – the adult parade and street party – gets under way at 3 p.m. Saturday. The parade will snake its way from the Marquee Plaza on Lawrence Boulevard and along West Bay Road before ending at Harbour Drive, George Town. A total of 10 adult bands, the largest number in Batabano’s history, plus countless masqueraders, are scheduled to take part in the parade, along with limbo dancers, stilt walkers and acrobats.  

Spectators typically line the streets to watch the colorful event, with many coming out well in advance to gain the best vantage point.  

After the parade there will be a free street party and a food festival, featuring more than 20 local and international food vendors dishing up a wide range of cuisines alongside traditional island fare. Music by local band CayNRG and Oscar B will add to the festive atmosphere. 

The Junior Batabano parade and Family Fun Day on May 10 offers an opportunity for Cayman’s youngsters to showcase their creativity and carnival spirt. The venue for the Family Fun Day will be the old Tower building site on North Church Street, where the parade will begin and end. The event begins at 1 p.m., with the parade commencing at 3 p.m. followed by A Teen Jam with music by DJ Von HD. Tickets are $10. 

Batabano was started in 1983 by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman as a way for both locals and visitors alike to come together and celebrate Cayman.  

The name Batabano is a salute to Cayman’s turtling heritage and refers to the tracks left in the sand by sea turtles as they clamber onto the beach to nest. Since 2000, Batabano has been organized by a committee of volunteers, with the support of private sector and government sponsors. 

For more information, email [email protected], visit caymancarnival.com or log onto the Cayman Carnival Batabano Facebook page. 

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Music, revelry and pageantry are hallmarks of Cayman’s Batabano carnival. – Photos: Stephen Clarke
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