THE Eastern Borough of Arima was overflowing with colour on Saturday, as the Caribbean Festival of Arts (Carifesta) XIV started its eastern tour.
The Santa Rosa First Peoples Community held a smoke ceremony at the Santa Rosa Church Park, followed by a street festival parade from the park to the Arima Velodrome. Joining the local First Peoples were members of Guyana's Arawak community.
During the parade, a mobile May Pole was placed next to the Arima Dial to allow for the May Pole dance which is part of Spring rites to ensure fertility. Tassa players, parang music and steelpan formed the backbone of the day's entertainment accentuated by belle dancers, Jab Jab from Montserrat, the Santa Rosa First Peoples Performing Company and a rhythm section.
The parade crossed the Arima promenade and into the velodrome with a host of activities already simultaneously happening at the venue. The promenade was filled with tents in which arts and craft were on display. Barbers fresh from a 15-week course were on hand to give free haircuts to patrons.
The Cocoa Village was a main attraction for many as Brasso Seco, Paria, Tamana Mountain Chocolate, Lopinot Chocolate Company and Mariposa Gardens brought their special blends of cocoa and coffee. Pastelles, roasted coffee, roasted beans, cocoa powder, Creole chocolate, Balata wine and Yamaha Mountain chocolate, were some of the items available at the village.
Liz Deane-Hughes from Guyana and Suriname native Arthur Thijm were high in praise as they spoke about their experience at Carifesta in Arima. "This was as good an experience one could get to see culture from the region promoted in one event," Deane-Hughes said.
"The displays were rich and colourful and the music reflected the cultural fusion that makes the Caribbean region such a wonderful place. Very natural and creative," Thijm said.
The Velodrome played host to a craft market while the huge stage allowed for cultural shows by local artistes and participants from Dominica, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda and Suriname.