The streets of Bridgetown came alive this afternoon as locals and visitors lined the streets to witness the launch of First Citizen’s Cityfest, which marked the official start of Crop Over.
Veteran calypsonian Grynner’s 2016 hit ‘Turn on de Speaker’ featured prominently in the parade, which included the Bajan characters the Green Monkey, Shaggy Bear and Mother Sally, as well as the authentic Bajan bus.
The parade, held under the theme ‘Dis is we ting’, also saw participation from the Barbados Cheerleading Federation, with squads from the primary and secondary schools ending their performance to the chant\ ‘B A R B A D O S!’
Chairman of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) Maureen Graham, told the gathering that the theme “sends a message of pride about this beautiful gem of the Caribbean we call Barbados”, adding, “we all need to feel a coveted sense of belonging. Crop Over belongs to all of us”.
For Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley it was an extra special occasion, as the day’s festivities coincided with the fifth anniversary of the designation of the City of Bridgetown and its Garrison as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“It is fitting that this significant achievement be reflected in our celebration of Cityfest, an event designed to bring culture alive once more in this historic city space,” said the minister.
In that regard Lashley noted that his ministry was working with the NCF to revitalize the City.
“I recognize even greater potential within the festival for private sector involvement. I believe we need to see more involvement of businesses in the City, many of whom are yet to buy into initiatives such as this that can make a difference to their own livelihood within Bridgetown.”
He said it is important to continue to redevelop, innovate and rejuvenate Crop Over, which has grown to take its place among the world’s most popular festivals.