Batabano swaggers down Seven Mile Beach

Despite a forecast threatening rain, the sun shone on Batabano on Saturday.

Scores of feathered and sequined women – and a few men – some wearing the barest of bikinis, strolled and danced their way from Public Beach to George Town along a route strung with enthusiastic supporters.

Flatbed trucks crowded with revelers, festooned with promotional signs and filled with speakers, provided a thumping, blaring soundtrack for the annual event that has been one of Grand Cayman’s main festivals since 1983.

The slow-moving procession began about 1 p.m. and finally crawled into George Town just before 7.

Gov. Anwar Choudhury and his wife Momina immersed themselves in the festivities, posing for pictures with celebrants and enjoying the atmosphere.

“We’ve been following it all day,” Mr. Choudhury said, as the couple sat near the courthouse. “We’re loving it. People are so happy and friendly.”

He said he is hoping an agreement can be reached to reunite those that split from the event to create a second carnival event, CayMas, which will hold its parade May 19.

“I’m hoping we can get together and have one big party,” he said. “We’re always stronger as one.”

Desland Bailey, 33, said he was impressed by the parade.

“I saw some lovely costumes,” Bailey said. “The costumes were on point, the music was in order, the officers did their jobs. It was really nice.”

The police presence was noticeable, with officers standing on the sidelines ready to step in if there were conflicts or people needing assistance. They also posed for the occasional photo with the partiers.

A few spectators said they were disappointed in the smaller size of the event.

Tracy Watler, 46, said she felt frustrated. She sat out this Batabano after participating in the three previous years.

“There’s not as many performers this year and many of them are not dressed up,” she said. “I don’t see as much effort in the costumes.

Nicola Kelly, 36, said she enjoyed the event more than usual.

“It was more organized this year,” she said. “There weren’t a lot of drunken people falling down. It was a lot of fun. You see people enjoying themselves and you don’t see that every day.”

Although she participated in the previous three years, she said she sat this one out.

“I just got baptized this year,” she said. “I think this is my last year watching.”

She said she was not looking forward to missing future parades.

“I’m going to be so bored,” she said.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now