While Torontonians have already put away their costumes for another year, in Niagara Falls, the Caribana schooling is just about to begin. Tomorrow morning the musical group Kobo Town, a fleet of food trucks and a busload of parade veterans will be heading down the QEW to a famous Niagara Falls park to teach tourists how to jump up and get down to the sounds and sights of Canada’s carnival scene.
The Niagara Caribbean Festival, a weekend celebration of Caribbean music, dance, and Carnival mas costumes starts at 3pm on Friday August 17th and continues to Sunday August 19th. The free festival, this year starring a pair of Juno Award winning musical acts and the Canadian Calypso Monarch will be held in the Queen Victoria Park directly opposite the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
This is the third year that the Toronto based Caribbean Community Engagement (CCE) company -- in partnership with the Niagara Parks Commission -- is holding a Caribana inspired festival. The CEE is headed up by Yvette Martin, a longtime Toronto stage manager for theatre, festivals (including Caribana) and concerts across the country.
“This is a fun fun weekend in a community that is new to the idea of having an all-in-Caribbean experience,” Yvette Martin told the Caribbean Camera. “ This weekend’s fete features family-friendly programming, tons of island cuisine and a wealth of entertainment including Kobo Town, Korexion, Canadian Calypso Monarch Joel Davis (Connector), and popular reggae singer Monty Hama. We are also bringing models, of course in parade costumes, to let the people of the Niagara Region take pictures and learn how to play mas!”
“The free festival, including the music concerts is all out-doors. People can bring lawn chairs or blankets to lie on the grass, and take in the shows,” said Ms. Martin. “ There is ample parking adjacent to park. Torontonians don’t have to drive, Go Trains run regularly to the city and link seamlessly with local transit to the park by the Falls.”
The festival starts this Friday at 3pm and ends with a firework show over the Falls at 10pm. Saturday the hours are 11 pm to the 10 pm fireworks show and Sunday 11am until 8pm. There will be vendors and food trucks serving Caribbean style food throughout the festival.
Originally from Trench Town, Canadian Juno award winning Reggae singer Korexion will be the Friday night headliner. Kobo Town another Juno-nominated Canadian Caribbean music group, led by Trinidadian Canadian singer and songwriter Drew Gonsalves take to the stage at 8pm on Saturday night. Singer reggae artist Monty Hama closes out the weekend performing on Sunday afternoon.
“Canada’s best Calypso singer Connector will perform all three days, and we have many others on the bill,” said Ms. Martin. “Dahlia, Niagara Falls’ reggae princess is also performing on Saturday.”