An authentic educational experience focused on the rich culture, heritage and food of Tobago. This is what visitors coming to the island for the 2019 Tobago Heritage Festival can look forward to, according to George Leacock, chairman of the Tobago Festivals Commission. The annual cultural fest was launched on Wednesday morning.
The festival will be working with a $7 million budget and the opening night will take place at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex on July 12.
George said all villages and participants in the heritage queen competition will receive cheques totalling $460,000 to cover their start-up expenses.
George said, “We tend to present authentic events in Tobago’s history in a fashion that allows participants to experience these events and take away some information of Tobago history and its traditions. The TFC in conjunction with the villages and organisations and community organisations will attempt to deliver this experience by way of content, audience accommodation and ambience.”
He said only food and drinks indigenous to Tobago will be sold throughout the festival up to the closing show on August 1.
“Some of the events have been combined to create greater efficiencies, in particular the Folk Fiesta, instead of being held as a standalone event, it has now been spread out and is being incorporated into various village presentations.”
George said the budget is inclusive of over $400,000 in sponsorship. He said as the commission receives more sponsorship, the cost incurred by the assembly will be reduced.
George said there will be additional activities in Delaford, Scarborough and Mt Grace this year.
“Mt Grace used to be in the festival and looking to make a return. What they did in Delaford, we looking at a Yabba Festival, and Scarborough we looking at a re-engineered rum shop – being a place of spirits but it will be populated by the spirits of Scarborough, not necessarily the spirits you drink.”
There was a short spoken work performance by last year’s Heritage Queen Oshun Trim and three crabs involved in this year’s crab and goat racing heritage event on display.