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What Are You Doing For Caribana?


I think that most Caribbean music lovers will be asked that very question this week. As for me, I'll probably bypass the Caribana parade on Saturday (I've developed an aversion to crowds) but you just might find my narrow behind at one of the many ancillary events.

Since its humble beginnings way back in 1967 (started as the Caribbean community's contribution to Canada's centennial celebrations) it's amazing how the festival has become a multicultural affair, with people from all races and cultures taking part. Damn shame that with all the money Caribana generates for the city (the Caribana Web site pegs it at $400 million annually), it still can't seem to turn a profit.

The parade has been running along Lakeshore/CNE for a while now, but I remember when the parade used to run along University Ave. There were no such things as barricades along the parade route, so things would get backed up at revelers rushed the streets following the big ass truck that featured their favorite band. Frantic parents would grab their children for dear life for fear of getting trampled by the crowd or pushed under the big truck. Ah, good times.

Why is the event such a popular draw? I guess that it's because the festival represents scantily-clad performers, the hypnotic rhythms of Calypso, Soca and Reggae music, and a license to "get on bad."

What more can you ask for?

Caribana Weekend

Friday, July 29: Pan Alive: steel orchestras from the Ontario Steelband Association compete before a panel of judges.
7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Bandshell Park, CNE
Admission: TBA (adult) TBA (senior/child)

Saturday, July 30: CARIBANA PARADE
A 3.6 kilometre street party. It begins at 10 a.m. Newfoundland & Princess Blvd. At Exhibition Place and moves west along Lakeshore Blvd. to just east of the Boulevard Club, ending at 6 p.m. and marketplace.
Admission: $15 (adult) $10 (senior) $5 (child) at Grassy Node area. Free along Lakeshore.

Sunday & Monday, July 31 & August 1: Arts & Cultural Festival: A two-day lakeside festival of Caribbean music, arts, crafts, food, comedy, dance and culture.
noon to 8 p.m. on Olympic Island.

Photo: Caribana


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