Are you ready for Carnival?

Schedule 

There ain’t no party quite like a Cayman
party – and the proof is in the annual Batabano Carnival.

The colourful celebration of life and
joy explodes in the main event of the parade on Saturday, 7 May, and the
lead-up to that fabulous, sequinned dance afternoon has much to offer for all
the family.

Indeed, says Donna Myrie-Stephen,
chairperson of the Batabano Committee, the theme this year is of unity,
creativity and togetherness – CayFusion.

“Times are tough right now so it’s All
Together As One; one people, one Caribbean, one nation. We want to invite all
nationalities to come out once again this year with their country flags to be a
part of the parade.”

As ever there will be Art in the Heart,
a new dynamic arts and crafts exhibition celebrating the artistic talents of
our people, a food festival of local and international cuisine and an exciting
street parade and fete to enjoy on the Saturday.

Special parties

Of course, there are parties going on in
the run-up to the Saturday street parade. The Friday Night Fete this year has
two special parties from which to choose, which are scheduled to be very
exciting with live bands from various genres of music.

“They promise to be highlights in the
Batabano calendar and both have a different flavour which will appeal to a wide
cross-section of the community. With our theme being CayFusion we want to
embrace all nationalities and invite everyone living on the island to be part
of this cultural celebration,” says Donna.

Junior Batabano takes place on 14 May at
Camana Bay, a new and exciting venue and an opportunity for the kids to show
the adults how it’s done.

“We’ve the costume street parade, a new
route and a new venue for the family fun day plus a teen dance that same night,
and so far have 11 schools involved both private and public. The Batabano
committee for the past six years has had the separate standalone junior parade
and teen dance as it’s a wholesome family fun day for the children and keeps
the adult festivities completely separate.”

Amongst other events are the Masquerade
Fete on Thursday, 5 May, at the RoofTop, downtown George Town, a cocktail
competition on 27 April, and a Saturday Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, 23 April.

Completely voluntary

Batabano is run on a completely
voluntary basis and only with sponsorship from government, the private sector
and the community does it become a reality each year.

“Batabano has no formal offices or
administrative salaries and so we invite and rely on community support and
involvement each year. The event holds great potential for our Islands so our
committee is fully committed to staging the event each year with the limited
resources we do have. People can help with the planning of the events, marshalling,
media relations, sponsorship to name but a few areas – be a part of the
planning and staging of this fantastic product, Cayman Carnival Batabano! 

“We look for serious commitment because
although it is a fun event, it is also an industry and statistics have proven
that carnivals worldwide are responsible for the highest economic yield per day
to any given city. Should the Cayman Islands Government inject a serious budget
and give real attention to promoting Batabano internationally all would benefit
financially from this very special and unique carnival that we have developed.
I encourage sponsors to support this national event,” says Donna.

Batabano is unique and special in many
ways, including the name itself. 

“The word Batabano means the tracks a
turtle leaves as it lays its eggs on the sand and represents Cayman’s turtling
heritage. Batabano can have meaningful significance to our society as we
attempt to bring everybody together to enjoy a moment free from derogatory or
discriminating pressures. 

“We can purge, if only for a moment, our
misunderstood differences and paint a picture of hope and cooperation for our
children of tomorrow. Carnival is about forgetting your troubles and joining in
the music and revelry of the time with the euphoric feeling that Batabano
elicits.”

Sponsors

Sponsors for Cayman Carnival Batabano,
presented by LIME, include Cayman Airways, Cayman Islands Department of
Tourism, Caymanian Compass, Le Classique, Ministry of Health, Environment,
Youth, Sports and Culture.

Junior Batabano is sponsored by Cayman
Distributors. Tortuga, Dart Rotary Club of Grand Cayman and Butterfield.

The Caymanian Compass is pleased to be
involved with the sponsorship once more, said Marketing Supervisor, Anne Mason.

“It’s carnival time and the Caymanian
Compass is jumping on board again this year to give it our full support. It is
a great event to get involved in and the Caymanian Compass will be covering it
fully pre- and post-event. You will be able to check out our Batabano photo
galleries online at caycompass.com. So check the Compass every week up until
the event for all our great Batabano coverage.”   WH

People can ring Donna Myrie-Stephen on
916- 1760 or [email protected] for more details.

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Justin Uzzell