The highly anticipated Crop Over 2018 season is off to an explosive start following last Saturday’s opening gala.
The newly revamped gala at King George V Memorial Park delivered on its promise to be a manifestation of Barbadian pride with a range of activities and first class music for attending the First Citizens Crop Over Xplosion.
Producer Alison Sealy-Smith told Barbados TODAY that the emphasis was on heritage and culture for the family-oriented event.
“I wanted it to be a celebration of who we are as Bajans and something that families could come out together and enjoy,” she said.
“We have a lot of the parties, we have a lot of the fetes. [This is something] that you can bring your children, your grandchildren to, [and] enjoy everything,” Sealy-Smith explained.
The event featured various several aspects of Barbadian culture, such as the rum shop, playing draughts and the attention-grabbing souse eating competition.
Sealy-Smith also underscored the significance of the sugar industry to Barbadian heritage saying, “sugar is at the core of who we are as Barbadians . . . That’s why it’s a good time for us to also acknowledge and celebrate those people who have contributed to the sugar industry”.
For the first time, the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) partnered with the Barbados Museum and Historical Society (BMHS) to set up a Pop-Up Exhibition which took Barbadians on the journey of how the festival and its music evolved from the pre-emancipation era until today.
Michelle Springer, research officer at the BMHS, said the exhibition was a way for persons to be reminded of who they are and where they came from in the midst of new elements being incorporated into Crop Over annually.
“We have lost touch with what Crop Over really is about. It’s a festival that initially commemorated the lives of the enslaved on the plantation [but] it has become more and more commercial . . . . It has become hypersexualized, but initially, it was a fertility deity to the West African ancestors and we’ve lost those linkages,” Springer said.
The exhibition also featured a multimedia presentation of monarchs of the festival through the years as well as festival characters, such as Mother Sally, Donkey Man, and Shaggy Bear.
Local entrepreneurs also interacted with the public during the event.
Twenty-three-year-old Zhane Padmore of ‘Cultured by Zhane’ displayed her African-inspired, customizable jewellery, including necklaces, chokers, and bracelets in an array of colours and prints.
Supreme Delights, owned by Corey Boyce, produces Barbadian confectioneries and snacks with a new twist. These include 17 sugar cake flavours such as rum and raisin and strawberry, three types of nut cakes, gooseberry and tamarind syrups as well as tamarind balls. (KW)