Junior Batabano ready to celebrate turtles

| 09/05/2019
CNS Local Life
Kids taking part in a previous Junior Batabano

(CNS Local Life): Junior Batabano is set to hit the streets of George Town tomorrow (Saturday, 11 May), with all the young people in the parade wearing costumes specially created to celebrate Cayman’s turtling heritage, under the theme “Once Upon A Turtle”. More than 400 children and teens from six schools will be participating this year.

Donna Myrie-Stephen, chair of the Cayman Carnival Batabano committee, explained that a new marketing initiative centres around reconnecting “the carnival in creative ways with the original meaning of the word ‘Batabano’”, the Caymanian term for the tracks left in the sand when turtles go ashore 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,” she added in a press release.

This year’s Junior Batabano costumes were designed and created by returning designer, Richard Bartholomew of Trinidad, along with Shane James. The costumes for each school will represent some aspect of Cayman’s turtling heritage, as well as a few fantasy turtles.

Cayman International School will have 25 students donning a 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 a “My Favourite Turtle Souvenir” costume; and George Town Primary School will have 49 students in two sections wearing costumes called “Have You Ever Seen A Flying Turtle” and “Sir Turtle Playing Mas”. 

In addition, 147 students from St Ignatius Catholic School will be divided up to wear four different costumes themed “The Turtle Cycle”. The sections are called “Emerging at Full Moon”, “The Race tor 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 “Hidden in the Kelp”.

The Cayman Islands Boy Scouts will also be in the parade, as well as a group of young beauty queens.

“Everyone involved is very excited about this year’s Junior Batabano turtle theme and are all looking forward to seeing the costumes in the parade,” said WendyAnn George, a Batabano committee member who has been coordinating the young people’s carnival for the past 10 years.

“We’re also looking forward to the Family Fun Day activities and the much-anticipated dance competition following the parade where each school will compete for the coveted Junior Batabano Band of the Year title, and other prizes.”

The event starts at 1pm with activities on the lawn of the old Glass House on Elgin Avenue, including games, mask-decorating and face painting.

At 3pm, the 400-plus children will be winding their way from the Glass House through the heart of George Town and back to the Glass House where they will each perform choregraphed dances on stage as part of the competition for prizes. The event is expected to end by 6pm.

Then, from 7pm-11pm, the annual Junior Batabano Teen Dance will take place at Kings Sport Centre for ages 13-16. Admission is $15 to dance, or $20 to dance and skate.

See photos below of the designs created for the youngsters taking part in the parade (click to enlarge)

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Category: Community, Events

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful costumes.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great, teaching the kids from now to strip and gyrate in public. I shake my head with dismay on how the schools in particular the Christians school allows this? We lead by example and if we are saying grown ups can walk the streets half naked without being arrested this states volumes who we are as a society! Disgusting!