Bridgetown came spectacularly alive on Saturday afternoon, locals and visitors alike lining the streets to witness the First Citizens City Fest, which marked the official start of Crop Over 2016.
Veteran calypsonian Grynner’s 2016 hit Turn On De Speaker featured prominently in the street parade that included the Bajan characters Green Monkey, Shaggy Bear and Mother Sally, as well as a model of the authentic Bajan bus.
The parade, held under the theme Dis Is We Ting, also saw participation by the Barbados Cheerleading Federation, with squads from primary and secondary schools ending their performance to the chant B-A-R-B-A-D-O-S!
National Cultural Foundation (NCF) chairman Maureen Graham told the gathering the City Fest theme sent “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 City Fest, an event designed to bring culture alive once more in this historic City space,” the minister said.
In that regard, Lashley noted, 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 which are yet to buy into initiatives such as this, that can make a difference to their own livelihood within Bridgetown.”
Lashley said it was important to continue to redevelop, innovate and rejuvenate Crop Over, which had grown to take its place among the world’s most popular festivals.