A record-breaking number of students from government and private schools in the Cayman Islands are busy planning their costume presentation and dance routines for the 15th annual Junior Batabano street parade, set for Saturday.
Junior Batabano organizers say some 450 students are now registered to play mas in Junior Batabano this year, which will make it the largest Junior Batabano parade yet.
“The Batabano Committee couldn’t be more thrilled about this news for our Juniors, as well as for our local schools, and we can’t wait to see the costumes and spirit the students will bring to their parade on [Saturday],” says Donna Myrie-Stephen, chairperson of the Cayman Carnival Batabano Committee, which also organizes Junior Batabano.
Myrie-Stephen said this year’s Junior Batabano theme is “Splendour of the Skies,” with most costumes designed once again by one of Trinidad’s finest “Junior Mas” costume designers, Richard Bartholomew.
“Richard has been designing and making Junior Batabano costumes for 15 years, and we are so excited to have him back with Junior Batabano again this year,” says Myrie-Stephen, adding that Bartholomew hopes to work alongside local designers to pass on this art to Cayman’s students through school workshops.
Junior Batabano Coordinator WendyAnn George of the Batabano Committee, says: “This is the 15th year of Junior Batabano and we’re always so happy to see it grow in leaps and bounds annually.
“This year, spectators will see our biggest Junior Batabano parade with more than 450 children dressed in costumes with names like Solar Eclipse; Rain, Rain and More Rain; and Fluffy Clouds, to name a few. Last year’s competition was won by Red Bay Primary School, and they will be defending their ‘Junior Band of the Year’ title with their costume ‘Swirling Winds.’”
The participating schools include Cayman International School, St. Ignatius School, Cayman Prep and High School, Red Bay Primary, Prospect Primary, Savannah Primary, and George Town Primary. George notes that George Town Primary School will be returning to the Junior Batabano parade this year, with their costumes “moon, stars and angels” designed by Caymanian costume designer Reba Dilbert. She is being assisted in making the costumes by parents and students of the school.
Apart from the Junior Batabano parade, families can also enjoy Family Fun Day activities on the grounds of the old Glass House, which kick off at 1 p.m. These include bouncy castles, cotton candy and snow cones, face painting, and much more.
The annual “Teen Glow Party” for teens between the ages of 13 and 17, takes place the same evening from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Teens wearing white will receive free glow items upon entrance.
Cayman Carnival Junior Batabano has a number of other special events planned, including a steel band concert – “Pan on Parade” – and the appearance of a young masquerader portraying a winning costume from Trinidad Kiddies Carnival 2018.