The annual Junior Carnival Batabano and Family Fun Day is set to take place this Saturday, April 25, and promises to be an action-packed day for all children and youth wishing to take part in Carnival traditions, too.
Festivities begin at 1 p.m. at the Glass House grounds in George Town, with a lineup of special activities and booths that includes face painting, mas (masquerade) decorating, and even a bouncy castle for the little ones. There will also be an array of food venues on hand.
“Our Family Fun Day is an exciting blend of color, food, fun-filled activities and music. Families can look forward to enjoying themselves in a safe environment, and we have added more games and booths where there are lots of prizes to be won,” said Wendy Ann George, who has been coordinating Junior Batabano for the last seven years.
The lively parade begins at 3 p.m. from the Glass House with a walk through downtown (the parade turns left on Shedden Road, then right on Harbour Drive, right on Fort Street, and right on Edward Street, before heading back to the Glass House for judging).
More than 300 children, comprising 10 school bands and one private mas band, are expected to take part in the parade. Spectators are encouraged to cheer on the participants, who will have the chance to showcase their colorful and creative costumes.
Said George: “We encourage families to come out and support the children as they parade through George Town.”
After the parade, first- second- and third-place prizes will be awarded for the best costumes, and the winner of the “Jr. Batabano T-shirt Design Competition” will also be given her prize. Lexie Taylor of Cayman Prep and High School is the winner of the T-shirt competition, with her colorful rendition of a chicken that captured local renowned artist and judge Al Ebanks’s attention. Her drawing will be on all of the Junior Batabano T-shirts.
Later in the evening, youths ages 13-17 can head to the South Sound Community Centre for the Glow Teen Jam, scheduled from 7-11 p.m. Parents will be happy to know that the age limits will be strictly enforced, and that there will be security, Batabano committee members and parents present. Admission to the Teen Jam is $10.
History of Junior Batabano
In response to the growing interest of local schools for student participation in the annual Cayman Carnival Batabano street parade, the Cayman Carnival committee in 2002 introduced Junior Batabano, a family friendly fete meant to be part of the overall one-day “adult” street parade.
However, due to the continued growth and development of the junior parade, the committee decided to launch a stand-alone street parade in 2005 devoted to Cayman’s children and youth, which now takes place on the weekend before the adult parade.
The goal has always been to create a safe, fun and creative environment for children to play mas as well as teach the art of costume-making for generations to come.