Batabano 2017 getting ready for the road

| 14/12/2016
CNS Local Life

Participants in the 2016 Junior Batabano parade

(CNS Local Life): The Cayman Carnival Batabano committee is gearing up for its 34th carnival season with the re-introduction of the kings’ and queens’ costume competition and a number of other events slated for its usual weekend spot on the local calendar, set for 4-6 May 2017. Local schools and individual junior bands will also be getting ready for Junior Batabano and Family Fun Day scheduled for 29 April 2017, ahead of the adult parade.

“With the endorsement and support of the Cayman Islands government for decades, the Batabano street parade has grown significantly and has truly been an economic boost for local business as well as for tourism,” said event chairperson Donna Myrie-Stephen.

“In recent years we’ve had more sponsors and spectators, and more masquerade bands introducing stunning costumes for the street parade each year. In 2017 we’re especially excited about re-introducing the kings’ and queens’ costume competition as well as a float category,” for the parade, she added, saying these would make the event an even bigger attraction for both spectators and participants.

Myrie-Stephen, who has chaired the Batabano committee since 2001, said the lineup for the weekend includes the carnival’s signature event, Le Masque, slated for Thursday, 4 May, featuring an exclusive showing of the kings’ and queens’ costumes. For the first time in the Caribbean, the Friday night fete will feature the Canadian-based “Soca or Die” concert on Harbour Drive. The street parade will take over the road the following day, with up to 10 bands anticipated to take part, along with floats and kings’ and queens’ costumes.

“The Batabano committee is the official authorised organising body for this important cultural and tourism product for the Cayman Islands and we’re more excited than ever about this next carnival season,” Myrie-Stephen said.

Telecoms company FLOW has sponsored the event for the last 16 years, said the Cayman head of marketing, Julie Hutton. “Once again we are delighted to have the opportunity to add our signature brand of excitement to the carnival that has enticed and attracted thousands of revellers from home and abroad,” she added. “Flow continues to support the highly anticipated Batabano as we raise the bar even higher in 2017.”

Other activities planned for Batabano include the J’ouvert opening road parade, soca monarch competitions, costume and cocktail contests, concerts and jazz fusion events.

Another first for Cayman Carnival Batabano is the formation of the Cayman Islands Mas Band Association (CIMBA), whose elected representatives have been given a seat on the Batabano planning committee. CIMBA head Olujimi La Pierre said in a statement that the group appreciated Batabano organisers offering mas bands an official spot.

“Given the opportunity to serve as the first representative for the Cayman Islands Mas Band Association, I appreciate the respect and confidence my fellow band leaders have in me,” La Pierre said. “Growing up in the carnival culture from here to Trinidad and Toronto I’ve enjoyed the energy from the music and masqueraders. Carnival is my favourite time of year.”

Once again Cayman Brac will hold their carnival, Braccanal, following Batabano celebrations, from 12-15 May 2017.

For more information, go to the Cayman Carnival website

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Category: Events

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