The atmosphere of this year’s Carnival season begins with a bang. With the theme of Spice Mas “We Playing a Wicked Mas for 2K10” came the launch of the carnival season last Saturday (June 12th) at the National Stadium, where the public was given a taste of what they can expect for the carnival season.

July will see the opening of various Mas Camps, Calypso and Soca tents where Mas Bands prepare costumes that will be showcased on the streets of St. George’s; Carnival Monday (August 9th) and Tuesday (August 10th) and local artistes entertain and vie for a chance to compete at the upcoming carnival shows in August.

The celebration gains its momentum in early August with cultural presentations and calypso shows almost every night of the week. The Kids’ Carnival Frolic held on the Saturday preceding carnival week showcase young kids in their costumes dancing to their favorite songs before the judges; later on in the evening, we are graced with the sound of steel band music by our Juniors who play their favourite tunes on pan vying to be crowned Junior Panorama Champs and followed by this the young boys and girls who will vie for the Junior Monarch by singing their own renditions to the public, and the judges.

This event paves the way for the Groovy Monarch Finals on Carnival Wednesday night (August 4th, 2010) and the National Carnival Queen Show the following evening; where seven (7) beautiful young talented ladies each representing their parish competes in carnival costumes, evening gown and cultural performance categories. This competition sets the pace for the Soca Monarch Finals on Carnival Friday (August 6th, 2010) and the Panorama Competition on Carnival Saturday (August 7th, 2010). Each to be held at the National Stadium.

The Highlight of the Carnival begins with the Dimarche Gras Show on Carnival Sunday (August 8th, 2010) which features the Kings and Queens of the Fancy Mas Bands in competition for King and Queen of carnival along with the Calypso Monarch Competition. Immediately following this competition, the officials start of carnival J’Ourvert, begins in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Traditionally Jab-Jab masqueraders blackened themselves with tar, old engine oil, mud or molasses and could be quite repulsive. However, most have heeded health warnings of the damage caused by old engine oil and over the last decade, the traditional Jab-Molassi have been joined on the streets by devils painted in a multitude of colors who are only likely to dab bystanders with a bit of their body paint as they dance through the streets, accompanied by steel bands, drums and the best of the season’s music played by DJs on huge trucks. This is also the time when Ole Mas Bands, bringing international and local events to the fore through double entendre placards and satirical costumes are found on the streets.

Later on that afternoon, we will see the showcase of the Traditional and Fancy Mas bands on the streets of St.George’s. Traditional Mas such as Short knees, Vekou and Wild Indians have been known to frighten many a child as they dance through the villages, on their way to the parade. However; their weapons are harmless, since they are only likely to cover onlookers with a dusting of body powder if denied the traditional penny when requested, and this is all part of the fun. The fancy Mas bands are full of revelers in modern costumes portraying a theme, mostly of times gone by, who perform on the streets before the judges while parading through the streets of the city, dancing to the sounds of the year’s most popular music. Look out for the Kings and Queens of the bands as they navigate the streets in the most outlandish costumes, praying that the gentle breezes will keep them cool and no sudden gust comes along threatening to knock them off their feet.

Carnival Monday night belongs to the masses who take to the road in colourful t-shirt bands, waving brightly coloured sticks or rags, while dancing the night away to the sound of soca music played by popular DJs.

For those who still have the energy, the last street parade on Carnival Tuesday, is the most important part of the Carnival. Bands of Fancy Mas are joined by bands from the Kids Carnival Frolic and Traditional Bands chipping along the streets of the city to popular songs played by the steel bands and DJs. They are judged at three points along the way with points added to the points scored the day before, to determine the band of the year. This is the day when most spectators tend to line the streets eager to view the revelers and as the sun goes down, join in the fun. Make-shift bars line the route and everyone has a good time. At the end of the festival, the song played most on the streets while the bands parade is determined to be the Road March and the singer is presented with the title Road March King.

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