Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's a Coin Toss: Montreal Carifiesta and Jamaica Day to be held on July 9th 2011


Montrealers were rejoicing at the return of Carifiesta the cities annual Caribbean Community Carnival on July 9th.  The celebrations were short lived once it was announced that Jamaica Day will share the same date.
Via cbc.ca
Montreal's troubled Carifiesta festival will be a smaller affair this year as organizers try to revive the event after infighting led to its collapse last year. The festival's parade, with its flashy costumes, calypso music, steelpans, and floats, will return to the city's downtown streets on July 9. Carifiesta president Everiste Blaize said organizers are putting the past behind them and will put on the best possible event this year. "We are starting a rebirth of the carnival," Blaize told CBC on Monday. However, with only a handful of floats registered so far, he said the parade will take years to rebuild to its former colourful glory. Some of the elaborate costumes can take a year to make, he said. Many people were late getting started because they were not sure Carifiesta would be back on. "I mean it's a start, right?" said Blaize. "We do just want to present something that's worthy of the culture and something we could be proud of for this year."


Difficult years for festival

For more than three decades, the Caribbean Cultural Festivities Association organized the annual festival and its popular parade. However, in 2009, some members of the association split away to form a new organization, called the Montreal Carnival Development Foundation. That year, the city split its funding between the two groups, and Montreal saw two separate parades on the same day. In 2010, the city cancelled the parade after the groups failed to resolve their differences. However, Carifiesta isn't free from controversy this year.


Jamaica Day takes place on same date

The parade date, July 9, is also the date of the Jamaica Day celebrations in Parc Jean Drapeau. Some members of Montreal's Caribbean community have complained that people will have to choose between the two events. "I think the city has done a disservice to the community to put it on the same day as Jamaica Day," said Egbert Gaye, editor of the Community Contact newspaper. The City of Montreal will meet with organizers of both events this week. City spokesperson Darren Becker said officials are considering using a shuttle bus to move people between the two events. He said the city had no choice but to issue permits for the same day because of scheduling conflicts with the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

1 comment:

  1. Jamaica Day & Carnival loverApril 13, 2011 at 9:52 AM

    With city shutting down the Carifiesta really early, it will be an advantage to have shuttle buses leaving the parade route to Jean Drapeau.

    Let's see what will be the outcome!