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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Junior Carnival parade route 2013

 This is the new route map for the 2013 Junior Carnival parade (kiddies Carnival)

Its great to see that organizers have improved on last years route and hopefully this will avoid any congestion issues.
We love this event and really look forward to it. It so nice to see all the little ones getting "baptized" into "We Ting"
We usually help out for this, so we will have a post closer to the date giving you all the details and tips you need to know, in order to enjoy your day.
For now, just know that, last years' route mistake will not be repeated and since everything else ran pretty smoothly, this year should be great. This is really good news!!!!
Many bands have launched their kids costumes, so go check out the mas camps and register your children. Take them with you so they can soak up some mas camp vibes and see how costumes come together. Start them from small, when they get to be your age, they will look back on these memories as they register their own kids ...... its the circle of life (insert lion king song here)  
Go register your kids

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wrist bands

Some people are probably tired of hearing us complain about the crowd control "stormer" issues within the parade. So I guess we should be grateful for any efforts being made.

I was ready to bash the new wrist band strategy, saying it was pointless and ineffective. When I first heard about it I thought, why bother giving masqueraders wristbands? Is it that you can't identify a stormer? He's the guy not wearing feathers, glitter or maybe a board shorts. I wondered if they were trying to weed out persons who make their own costumes, which is not so much of an issue in Toronto because we can't even keep out the guys in jeans and white Tees.

On further thought, I figured its more of an educational campaign, the FMC and TMBA are coming together to try and teach the public that this is a parade and its not ok to just overrun the bands.
From the first band launch, they had SKF up on stage telling people, that without a wrist band, you will be ejected from the parade route. Its kind of an empty threat, once they are in you can't really throw them back over a 9 foot fence.
The only hope is to teach people that their actions are unacceptable and shame them into not doing it.
 I think we need to get the mainstream media involved, I want to hear G98.7, Flow, CTV and the Toronto star telling people that they can't just hop the fence and jump up.  I mean, I read this article in the Star called "Don't fence us out"

They got the info out, that there would be taller fences, but we need them to go a little further by encouraging guys to not jump the fence. Instead they go and quote the guys complaining about being kept off of the route.

The fact that people complain that they are fenced out means they don't understand that IT IS A PARADE, NOT a FREE FOR ALL for anyone waving an island flag and is entitled to join in. The people wearing those costumes? THEY PAID FOR THAT, they are called masqueraders, THEY are the only ones who should be on the route.

I get it, when I was a broke student, I used to storm. If I had $150 it was going towards Air Jordans, not a costume.  But there are other options, you can volunteer, either with a band or with the festival itself. Get your friends together and help out. Its a good time, you get to meet people and if you are a teen, you can get some community hours that you need to graduate.

Also, lady masqueraders, if you don't like your band being over run by stormers, you can't let these guys wine on you. Even if he's looking good, toting a six pack and smelling sweet. They are  like bees draw to nectar and you are the flowers. With that kind of incentive, no wrist band will keep them behind a fence. If EVERY time he try to get a wine he is told "no costume... no jam" maybe he will play mas next year.


Saturday, June 08, 2013

How do I join in the Caribana Parade?

Photo credit 

Don't want to be stuck behind a fence? Get a costume. 

Growing up in the culture, we sometimes forget that lots of people don't know what "play mas" means, think a band is a bunch of people with instruments and a mas camp is .... well I don't know what they think that is.

This post is for you.

So, you see Caribana on TV and see the beautiful ladies in costume in the newspapers and you think to yourself, I'd love to do that. I wonder how you get involved? Do you have to take dance lessons or attend practices? Do you make your own costume? How much does it cost? Can I get a used costume on Kijiji? $200 for a costume??? Can I wear it next year again?
You might be laughing, but these are all questions we (Karabana & I) have been asked over the years.

How do I get in the parade.

The parade is made up of about 13 masquerade bands. These bands come up with a theme and design on average 10 different costumes called sections which they will manufacture and offer for sale to the public. In addition to the costume, the band provides music trucks during the parade as well as drinks, lunch, security and other support.
In the spring time, bands throw band launches. These are like parties/fashion shows/ fundraisers. When you attend these shows, there are models dressed in the bands creations and you can see what costumes you like. We attend most of these launches and post the photos on the blog. If you see something you like, you can contact the respective bands (links on the right side of the blog under the heading mas bands)

I don't live in Toronto, is online purchasing safe?

Not every band offers online purchasing, but those who do, use reputable third party payment processors and I have never heard of anyone being ripped off. We have been registering online for the last few years and have never had an issue. After registering, its not a bad idea to contact the leader of your section to work out details for any extras you might want and to organize costume pickup. If you are out of town, you may only be flying in on the Thursday or Friday night and you may miss the scheduled pick up date. Its important that your section leader is aware of this.
Also, if you pay by credit card you have zero liability, so there is your added peace of mind.   

 How do I choose a band?

Ideally, you will see a costume you love and buy it. There are some other considerations. Do you have friends that play in a certain band? There are bands that charge a premium and offer premium services. Eg a flat bed truck with porta- poties, enhanced security etc. If you have friends who are involved, they can give you a band recommendation. Otherwise you can google other peoples past experiences. Personally, we tend to play with one of the first 3 to 4 bands in the parade order. This lets you know that you will get an early start to your day and helps a little with the congestion on the parade route.

This isn't Brazil, you don't need to join a samba school

The parade isn't an organized dance performance. Its more of a moving party. It doesn't hurt to familiarize yourself with the music. You can download some music here for free.


If you live here, you might want to hit some pre-Caribana parties (called fetes) This will get you in the spirit and you might pick up some dance moves. Check out Toronto-lime.com http://www.torontolime.com for party listings.

How much does it cost?

Well, the cost varies, and as always, you get what you pay for. About $200 for ladies and $175 for men will get you into one of the larger bands. If you want a larger (front-line costume) you can double that price quite easily. Some of the smaller/newer bands can be less expensive, but your trade off is being further back in the order of the bands (parade).

So this is the basic info you need if you want to play mas (participate in costume in the parade). I'm sure I missed some stuff, if you have questions, leave a comment and I'll try my best to answer.

Remember, Caribana is not a spectator sport. To have a really good time you need to get a costume and come play a mas. Are you ready for the road?

Caribana 2010 slideshow

Mardi Gras, Hamilton

Mardi Gras, Hamilton

Blog Archive

J'ouvert 2008!

J'ouvert 2008!

Mardi Gras 2010

Buublenut, Megan & Karabana at Caribana 2007!

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