We knew it’d be a riot and as the wise say – do not live with expectations because you are bound not to be disappointed (either in a bad/good way). For some reason and for years “ in my head” I had attended a Caribbean carnival but in reality I hadn’t. I guess it was all my Guyanese, Trini, Jamaican, Bahamian friends and connections that made me feel as though I’d been to one and couple that with my knowledge and experience of festivals in Nigeria. We were in for a treat .
Before the float got to the field, people had lined up on the street with their country flags, in their costumes – beautiful, vibrant, bold colors that drew you in as you scanned through to make sense of the costume. People parked their cars and reached into their coolers for a beer or snack just awaiting the float. The field was huge, certainly bigger than the average football field it seemed to me, vendors laid out in a circle of sort. People crossing the field to secure a spot in line for a taste of that Jerk Chicken right before they scooted back to the streets for the float.
Swarms of people entered the field area, I could feel the excitement bubbling up like a soda just shaken up and about to explode; lots of laughter, smiles, cameras, and phones coming out of the woodworks to capture the moments. Red, Orange, Beautiful sunshine yellow, glitters, green, Blue, ooo so many bold colors. It reminded me of Amaze Africa – the Ankara prints we have, the African Inspired colors and textures we indulge in.
Men on stilts – Definitely felt nostalgic when I saw this. It was a scene straight from Africa during masquerade festivals
To my left came down this beautiful orange looking bird costume- She flared her wings as though she would bring you into her embrace.
I heard another set of sounds – music; oh, another float – clearly Guyanese as the flag flew and waved higher on that float with its set of people performing some dance steps. Bodies sculptured from the practice of these moves. What fun to watch as we attended to the customers that drew into our booth for the same reason we were glued to the floats – Colors, textures, vibrancy, uniqueness. We chatted with our customers, shared similarities in our cultures and loads of laughter.
And at the end, I finally thought we fit right in, we brought in colors, more colors, it was indeed an Afro-Caribbean experience.