Colorful Caribbean costumes will line Manchester Avenue and the hypnotic sound of soca, calypso, punta and steel drums will fill the air in Westchester during festivities of Caribbean Heritage Week 2005, which locally will include a carnival parade and a folk and heritage festival.
The L.A. Carnival parade will assemble at 8 a.m. at the corner of 88th Street and Liberator Avenue in Westchester. The procession begins to march at 11 a.m. and heads west on Manchester Avenue to Westchester Park, 7000 Manchester Ave., Westchester. Admission is free to spectators. Participation in the parade is $10 per person.
In the Caribbean, a festival of this type is called a “mas,” short for masquerade, according to Caricabela, event organizers.
Many of the dancers and revelers in the parade create their own elaborate costumes in the style of traditional Caribbean pageantry. The costumes are vibrant and colorful with shimmering, flowing fabrics and unfurling feathers, beads and garlands. Each cluster of revelers has a “king” and “queen” dressed in the most elaborate of costumes.
Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl plans to attend and host a ribbon cutting at the start of the parade at 11 a.m. Sunday, October 16th, according to Caricabela president Marie Kellier.
Caribbean Heritage Week 2005 has events planned from Friday, October 7th, to Sunday, October 16th, throughout the Los Angeles area. The mission of Caricabela, (organizer of Heritage Week events) is to promote the cultural, artistic and entrepreneurial spirit of the Caribbean-American community in the Western United States, and the culture of Caribbean nations, including Jamaica, Barbados, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico and Haiti.
The Caribbean-Latin Folk and Heritage Festival is scheduled for the day before the L.A. Carnival, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, October 15th, at Westchester Park. Festival admission is free.
Entertainment will include Latin-Jazz artists Ricardo Lemvo and Makino Loca and Afro-Cuban jazzman Francisco Aguabella.
One attraction will be the exotic island foods available, including curried goat, fried plantains, jerk chicken, rum cake, sorrel and mauby drinks.
Parade revelers can get some tips on how to spice up their costume creations the day before the parade, when the Caribbean-Latin Folk and Heritage Festival will feature a costume-making workshop led by David Blake.
The festival also features Calypso Competition finals and the L.A. Youth on Parade Showcase and Workshop.
The L.A. Youth on Parade Showcase and Workshop is a joint program between Caricabela and the L.A. Bridges Program at Audubon Middle School (in the Leimart Park area of Los Angeles), with the intent to teach young children of both American and Caribbean ancestry the culture of the Caribbean region, according to Caricabela.
The children are taught the craft of making carnival costumes and then they get to march in costume with the parade.
Caribbean Heritage Week is meant to highlight and celebrate the contributions of the Caribbean-American community to the economic, cultural, political and social fabric of the Los Angeles area and the United States as a whole.
Caribbean Heritage Week celebrates distinguished and accomplished persons of Caribbean ancestry including Malcolm X, Colin Powell, Harry Belafonte, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, Mervyn Dymally and Sydney Poitier, according to Caricabela.
Caricabela was founded in 1994 by Marie Kellier, a teacher at Crossroads School, a private high school in Santa Monica. She is also a documentary filmmaker.
Information, (310) 410-0174.