by Latoya Burnham
Cellphone, video cameras, even the high tech gadgets of visitors came out this morning as the Tourism Week parade brought activity in the City to a virtual halt.
Tourists in for the day or on holiday smiled and waved as stiltmen, a Mother Sally, cheerleaders, tuk band, the Royal Barbados Police Force Band and various tourism representatives, including eateries, hotels and ministry staff took to street.
It was an overcast day with intermittent showers that held up the start of the parade, which moved off from the Ministry of Tourism’s Harbour Road headquarters almost an hour later than the scheduled 9 a.m. start. But once they got going, with the police band leading the way with selections like Beautiful Barbados, RPB’s Something’s Happening and a number of Christmas tunes, the parade quickly covered the route.
On Cheapside commuters came to the roadside to watch and listen, and workers paused and came out as well, and as they turned by the St. Mary’s Church and proceeded past City Centre, and the number of spectators doubled by the time they got to Trident House on Lower Broad Street.
Here even more tourists and locals paused as tourism officials rushed to hand out Mardi Gras beads, water bottles and other souvenirs and paraphernalia.
Every vantage point, on Broad Street, balconies included, were used by staff of the various establishments and other spectators to take in some of the antics of the band and the Ellerslie Secondary ESS Warriors as well as the Christ Church Girls Green Stars, who used the wide street to show off their chants and tumbles. The primary school girls even went as far as to walk with a small member of their team hoisted high and waving to the crowds, as the ESS Warriors, some distance behind, chanted “T.O.U.R.I.S.M, Tourism”.
There was also a presence of Divi Southwinds, four bars from the Oistins Bay Gardens, Oceans 2, Lucky Horseshoe and De Pompasetters tuk band.
Minister Richard Sealy, who joined the crowd in Independence Square, where the parade ended, encouraged both locals and visitors to play their part in making tourism successful and also invited them to attend any of the events left to celebrate Tourism Week which culminates on December 15.