Miami Carnival has Canadian content
TruDYNASTY drives 24 hours to play Mas in Miami
Trains. Planes. Automobiles. And, quite possibly Boats brought thousands of revelers into South Florida on the weekend to take part in the 34th Annual Miami Carnival Parade & Concert. Although revellers in Toronto and New York will vehemently disagree, the Miami event is often self-described as the "Largest Caribbean Carnival in North America.”
The big event, as it is in every carnival city, belongs to the mas band parade. More than 17 costume bands, 5 pan orchestras and blaring sound trucks took it down the road all day Sunday.
|Pictured: TruDYNASTY’s Thea Jackson|
Although no official announcement has been made as to how many people played mas at the city’s Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds or how many watched from the sidelines. Social media estimate 8,000 people were in amazingly skimpy costumes (much more women than men) and 100,000 took it all in from the sidelines.
The local media who cover carnival are in agreement that the event attracts people from 32 Caribbean islands. It also was a big draw for many Canadians revellers who flew or red knuckled it 24-hours straight along the I-75 and I-95 freeway to take part in the annual parade.
“It is a long drive, but I did bend a couple wire bras on the way down while he (her husband Dario) was driving,” said Thea Jackson. The Toronto costume designer and Trudynasty mas camp leader had a section in the Sunday parade. She made and delivered over 30 costumes for the parade. In Miami, they were playing under the band Party Room Squad.
Ms. Jackson told the Caribbean Camera that the Toronto Carnival could learn from what was done in Florida with their parade. It is held inside a Park and on University grounds. “The organization of the Miami festival is on point and people actually do their jobs,” she said.
“They do fence the route, however, it has a screen up the whole way along the road making it a very long privacy fence. What that does is cause all the spectators to watch the judging (which is at the end of the road march). The fence actually funnels the audience into the huge fenced-in parking lot where there is a huge concert, vendors and food with the revellers”
It was typical Florida weather. Hot hot temperatures under partially cloudy skies prevailed on Sunday for the carnival. The Fairgrounds was filled with a riot of colour and the sounds of Soca music. Patrice Roberts, Shurwayne Winchester, Kes the Band and special guest Hip Hop’s Sarafee were on stage entertaining both revellers and fans.
The carnival is not free. There was $35 fee to get into the parade grounds to watch the judging in take part in a Blocko that lasted long after the last costume had been judged.
“ We had 30 people in our section,” said Ms. Jackson “most were American. But, there were Canadians everywhere – both on the road and in the stands.
“It so much so much fun! We are already signed on to do the Atlanta Carnival next and then on to the Barbados. We are really excited to be venturing outside of Toronto, meeting new people and experiencing carnival in a more organized fashion, which makes it so much more enjoyable for everyone!”