Calypso music and Caribbean rhythms will dominate the events that bring Caribbean Heritage Week to a close.
Two Caribbean-themed celebrations will be held in Westchester Park, 7000 Manchester Ave., Westchester. The Caribbean-Latin American Family Folk and Heritage Festival is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, October 16th.
The next day, performers and festival-goers plan to reassemble for the L.A. Carnival Parade, featuring a pageant of dancers decked out in peacock-like attire and flashy, colorful costumes, who will dance to the rhythms of Latin-Caribbean percussionists in the procession.
Parade assembly begins at 8 a.m. and the parade starts at 11 a.m. at 88th Street and Liberator Avenue (behind Emerson Adult School) in Westchester. Marchers end up in Westchester Park, where a day of Caribbean food and festivities begins.
Admission is free to both events, but participation in the parade is $10 per costumed reveler.
A spokesman for festival organizer Caricabela says they model the events after the large carnivals of Brazil, New Orleans and Trinidad and Tobago.
In the Caribbean, a festival of this type is called a “mas,” short for masquerade, according to Caricabela.
Organizers expect thousands of revelers to attend the annual event, dressed in colorful, elaborate and extravagant costumes and dancing vibrantly to the hypnotic rhythms of calypso, soca and punta music played by live bands and DJs.
Even the sound system itself will be carried on a decorated float.
Bands will march with and perform during the parade as usual, but this year, for the first time, they will also perform sets in Westchester Park on Sunday after the parade.
The lineup of entertainers this year includes Roots Haitian, which will perform music of Haiti; Sapadilla, a soca/reggae/ calypso band; L.A. Carnival Steel Orchestra, a steel drum troupe; and Dutchys Tropicann, a group that performs a blend of Caribbean styles.
The performance of the Los Angeles Carnival Youth on Parade is the result of an education program that Caricabela runs in Los Angeles schools, teaching about Caribbean art, music and culture. This year, performers are students from Audubon Middle School in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles.
Another new feature of this year’s Carnival parade on Sunday is the judging of the costumed revelers for “best costume.”
Judging will take place in Westchester Park, where arts and crafts tables, Caribbean food vendors and Caribbean-themed displays will be set up.
Competitors can get some advice on how to spice up their costume creations the day before the parade at an all-day costume-making workshop held by Myrtle John, Angela Blazer and Judy Lawrence.
Saturday’s festivities also include talent performances, art presentations, health screenings, educational presentations, dance and exercise sessions, games, nutritional workshops and children’s activities.
On Thursday, September 16th, Karen Blackwell, assistant deputy mayor in Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn’s Office of Economic Development Minority Business Opportunity Committee proclaimed Friday, October 8th, to Sunday, October 17th, “Caribbean Heritage Week 2004.”
The Caribbean-Latin Folk and Heritage Festival and the Carnival parade mark the end of celebrations that included a business exposition, a tourism exposition, a reggae show and a calypso competition in areas in and around the City of Los Angeles.
Caribbean Heritage Week 2004 is meant to highlight and celebrate the contributions of the Caribbean-American communities to the economic, cultural, political and social fabric of the Los Angeles area and the United States as a whole.
Caribbean Heritage Week 2004 celebrates distinguished and accomplished persons of Caribbean ancestry including Colin Powell, Malcolm X, Harry Belafonte, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, Dule’ Hill, Mervyn Dymally and Sydney Poitier, according to Caricabela.
Caricabela is an umbrella association of Caribbean, Central and Latin American immigrants dedicated to promoting their diverse culture and to foster American participation in the economies of Caribbean nations.
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.
The period of Caribbean celebration and information exchange is co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and the office of Mayor Hahn.
Information, (310) 410-0174.