Edmonton | 2 comments
Summer in Edmonton, Alberta
By: Zdenko Kahlina
Cariwest Carnival Caribbean parade on Jasper Avenue
Parade started at noon on Jasper Avenue & 108 Street and headed towards Sir Winston Churchill Square in downtown Edmonton. Cariwest masqueraders danced under sunny skies through downtown Edmonton Saturday afternoon in brilliantly colored costumes to the pulsating sounds of the Caribbean.
The parade draws huge crowd every year. This year almost 60,000 people came out to the 26th annual Cariwest Caribbean Festival parade, which snaked along Jasper Avenue, ending at Churchill Square, where the party continued into the evening with Caribbean music, food, and dancing. Traditional Caribbean cuisine was served at the Churchill Square. That’s where you could try, not only the Caribbean food, but also an assortment of rums at the CariWest rum shop. There was a Caribbean village in Churchill Square where you could enjoy some free entertainment.
I followed the parade along the Jasper Avenue and witnessed first hane the essence of proud Caribbean culture.
Karella Cummings, the Festival Director, says Edmonton continues the tradition that Trinidad started so many years ago.
“It started in Trinidad and it would be a beautiful thing if everybody could go and see what goes on down there; ’cause it is a beautiful thing,” Cummings says, “We just take a piece of what that is, the talent of the masks … the people that make the costumes, and we bring it here.”
It all started Friday with a costume extravaganza at the Jubilee. On Saturday, a very colorful parade moved down Jasper Avenue.
Even the sun got into the island spirit for Saturday’s Cariwest parade. With the heat beating down on the downtown parade route, it felt like the procession could have been in the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, instead of Alberta’s capital.
This year’s Cariwest parade featured dancers, DJs, steel drums, and about a dozen elaborate examples of “mas.”
Caribbean mas designs — short for masquerade — are part costume, part float, and all show. Most of the ones in Saturday’s parade were supported by wheels, with the wearer strapped into the front and dancing it along. A few brave dancers, however, carried their mas without any help other than generous foam padding under the shoulder straps.
Among the mas on display Saturday were a skeleton king on his throne, a tropical flower-themed design with two massive hummingbirds on the sides, and a huge sunburst of golden faces.
The mas that led the parade was built for this year’s festival theme, “Cariwest, Alberta Best.” The Sweet Wheat costume was two huge fans of wheat, one green and one gold, each decorated with large fake honeybees.
Until next year!!
Overall, Cariwest is another great festival that adds life and color to our downtown. There were lots of people out to watch it. Colorful costumes, gorgeous scantily-clad ladies, arse-shaking music.