Junior Batabano, usually held before the adults have their parade, is actually being held a week later this year. On Saturday, a colourful cavalcade of costumes will descend upon George Town, with the grounds of the Glass House acting as a home base and the location of the associated Family Fun Day.
The theme for 2019 is ‘Once Upon A Turtle’, which pays homage to Cayman’s turtling heritage.
“One of our new marketing initiatives for Cayman Carnival Batabano overall going forward is to reconnect the carnival in creative ways with the original meaning of the word Batabano,” explains Chairperson of the Cayman Carnival Batabano Committee, Donna Myrie-Stephen. “[This] is the native Caymanian term for the tracks left in the sand when turtles go ashore to nest during nesting season, which typically starts around May each year.
“With the turtle nesting season being all about the emergence of turtle hatchlings, it was only fitting that we launch this new initiative with the juniors.”
This year’s Junior Batabano costumes are designed and created by returning costume designer, Richard Bartholomew of Trinidad, along with Shane James. Each school’s costume(s) will represent some aspect of Cayman’s turtling heritage, as well as a few fantasy turtles.
There are six schools and more than 400 children and teens participating this year from the following schools: Cayman International School will have 25 students donning the costume design called “Sailing in Las Tortugas”; Red Bay Primary School will have 39 students wearing costumes called “Save The Turtles”; Savannah Primary School will have 66 students in the “My Favourite Turtle Souvenir” costume; and George Town Primary will have 49 students in two sections wearing costumes called “Have You Ever Seen A Flying Turtle” and “Sir Turtle Playing Mas”.
St. Ignatius Catholic School’s entry this year will have 147 students in four different costume sections under the theme “The Turtle Cycle”. The sections are called: “Emerging At Full Moon”; “The Race For Survival”; “Batabano In The Sand”; and “A Nest Of Eggs”.
John A. Cumber Primary School is returning to the Junior Batabano parade after an eight-year hiatus, and will have 77 students sporting the costume design called “Hidden In The Kelp”.
The Cayman Islands Boy Scouts will also be in the Junior Batabano parade, as well as a local group of young beauty queens.