It was delayed by two weeks but the carnival road march will rumble through the streets on Saturday afternoon. There are 5 junior and 7 senior bands participating - amounting to an estimated 1,000 revelers.
Carnival has never been this big and despite the two week delay, we did the rounds at mas camps last night and found the carnival fever at a pitch. Keith Swift Reporting, It was a street fest on McKay Boulevard last night as the 70 plus revelers from the Mahogany Masqueraders took over the street and partied as if carnival was last night. The group's leader Nadia Avila says she has 75 revelers - the youngest is 4 and the oldest is 16. That is the biggest her group has ever been and she is confident of a win.
Nadia Avila, Leader - Mahogany Masqueraders "We are ready and we are doing some final touches on the costumes. That is basically what we are doing." Keith Swift, What can we expect this year? Nadia Avila, "Something bigger, better, overall because the main theme for this year is much better and its something that everybody could enjoy. It's a lot of and a lot of hard work. You have to love it to be in it." Make that a lot of hard work for the designers working on the 75 costumes. While the revelers partied outside - designers such as Jacklyn Meighan were inside hard at work - gluing and stitching. She's been at for three months. Jacklyn Meighan, Costume Designer "I will come on a daily basis. I will put in some time, two to three hours. Sometimes we are here until two in the morning." Keith Swift, How many costumes have you made?
Jacklyn Meighan, "Numerous." Keith Swift, I saw earlier that you had hurt your hand or something like that. Jacklyn Meighan, "Yeah it burns because the glue gun gets very hot sometimes and I suffered a lot of burns. I've been doing this for the past 5 years." Keith Swift, Why do you do it? Jacklyn Meighan, "I love it." Nadia Avila, "The joy for me is seeing the kids happy on that day and the way they dance, they do beautiful dancing and you can take anything and put on them and they enjoy that. The beauty for me is the kids. I love the kids and the look on their faces." Two of those children are 14-year-old Melissa Williams and 11-year-old Claudia Martin. This will be Melissa's fifth year in carnival and Claudia's first. Both have spent months preparing for the road march. Melissa Williams, Mahogany Masqueraders "Well I prepared for carnival by practicing, running, and working out." Keith Swift, My friend yuh di bust a sweat. You sure you'll be ready for Saturday? Claudia Martin, Mahogany Masqueraders "Yes. I can handle it." 19-year-old Samantha Soberanis has also spent months preparing. She will be one of the 40 revelers dancing for the Eternity Senior Mas Band. Samantha Soberanis, Eternity Mas Band "This is my first time in a senior group." Keith Swift, You ready for carnival? Samantha Soberanis, "Of course. We work hard for this and we are just waiting for carnival morning come." Keith Swift, What type of hard work? Samantha Soberanis, "You leave work and come to try and make costumes, you try and call everyone to come for their costumes and you still have a hard time finding money to make the costumes, you have to make several trips to Chetumal and back and it is still not finished. But carnival maaning come, we will be ready." At Eternity's Mas Camp on Ring Road the crowd was smaller but the energy was about the same. This is the group's first year in carnival and Dorothy Williams is the bandleader. Dorothy Williams, Bandleader - Eternity Mas Band "We have like about forty something and everyday we are getting people. We just got two more tonight." Keith Swift, So what will you guys be depicting? Dorothy Williams, "We will depict the sky; the moon, the sun, and the stars." Keith Swift, Are all your costumes ready? Dorothy Williams, "Basically yes. Only some little finishing like lining and thing. We will finish. We will finish for Saturday." And that is what it will all come down to for these groups: Saturday on Central American Boulevard. Mas camps continue tonight. J'ouvert is scheduled for Saturday morning at 4 and the road march is at 1 pm.
Join Neil Hall, Angela Gegg and Linda Blease for coverage of the road march on Channel 7 beginning at 1.