Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles and Tourism and Culture Secretary Nadien Stewart Phillips were among scores of spectators who journeyed to Moriah last Saturday to take in the village’s 2018 Tobago Heritage Festival production of an Ole Time Tobago Wedding.
The event began with the wedding ceremony at the Moravian church, followed by a street procession which showcased the elaborate wedding outfits of the bride and groom as well as that of guests as the bridal party danced their way through the village to a cake and wine session at the community centre and then to the recreation ground for a short play based on the wedding tradition.
Showery spells sent spectators scattering for shelter, but the show went with an energetic wedding march by participants.
Along the way, Moriah residents offered some advice to the Heritage organisers, urging them to resist the urge to “dilute” the show.
One resident, who didn’t give his name, advised passionately:
"This is our heritage and the young ones must remember every year is just a re-enactment (of heritage). Don't try to be over creative and dilute it. Down to the Tobago twang they interfering with...we are not supposed to make it understandable for visitors, they must challenge themselves to understand it. Don't try to modernise it...that's why it’s called heritage. Don’t experiment here.”
This resident also recommended changing locations and incorporating other elements of heritage to "spice up" the festival.
"It's not only weddings use to happen in Moriah long ago, there are other things we can highlight also or even add a piece into the same historic events," he said.
One participant rued what she said was a decrease in the size of the crowd over the years, and complaints by visitors about inadequate seating and shelter after the long wedding procession, especially given the habitual late start of the show.
Visiting from Trinidad, Lynde McMillian said this is her first time attending the event and she could not if she would return to see it another year. She complained about the hour and a half late start to the show but said she enjoyed seeing the bridal party and other villagers join in the wedding procession.