President Joelyn Robinson, of the Carnival Committee of Saba announces a successful end of Carnival Week 2023. The committee under the direction of Ms. Robinson, along with various stakeholders, ensured an enjoyable and safe summer festival for participants and onlookers alike.
The chairlady of the Saba Festival Foundation stated that it was the first time that the committee itself took on such an active role in the execution of several days/nights of the event. There are many factors contributing to this, the primary one being the micro-scale of our island and event. Overall, the committee is delighted with the workability and stability of this year’s team and is looking to move forward as the team and start planning the 48th Saba Summer Festival. In closing Robinson stated, “There’s always room for improvement, but the committee worked well, we understood each other, and we were able to overcome the obstacles presented”. The week-long festivities offered a vibrant mix of music, dance, food, games, and parades for both locals and tourists alike.
The week of events sprang into action on Friday with the inaugural “Road to Carnival” Jungle Juice Competition. Prizes for the triumphant contenders were presented by the Tourism Bureau. In the Restaurant Category, Dimples Restaurant took first place and was crowned the “Restaurant Jungle Juice Champ 2023”, with the Windwardside Chinese Restaurant coming second and securing the Crowd Favorite title. Liams Cuisine rounded out the top three. In the Local Category, Gideon Wilson triumphed as the “Local Jungle Juice Champ 2023” with Joelyn Robinson and Stanford Hassell bagging the second and third places respectively. Stanford Hassell also won the Crowd Favorite Award.
The inaugural ‘Road to Carnival Street Fair & Saba Jungle Juice Competition’ was welcomed with great enthusiasm by the community. This event will now become an annual affair, marking the beginning of a new culture of events on the island of Saba.
A special award from the Tourism Bureau was given to both Stephen Hughes and Jeff Del La Combe in honor of their contributions as the original creators of Saba Jungle Juice. A tribute was paid to Carmen Harriet Nicholson-Simmons, the founder of Saba Carnival, on the anniversary of her transition. Her daughter, Miranda Simmons, enlightened the crowd on the history of Saba Carnival.
The children’s parade took place on Sunday. The youth groups ‘Elements of Saba’, ‘Carnival Club Troop’, the Saba Girls and Boys Afterschool Care, and Funtopia paraded through Saba’s capital The Bottom in celebration of this significant moment. The group Elements of Saba was orchestrated by the young 11-year-old, first-time troop leader, Mikayla Dacosta, which had colorful costumes and a special Saba float acknowledging key past leaders of carnival history. With Monday marking the official opening of Saba Summer Festival 2023, Commissioner of Culture Eviton Heyliger was in attendance to officially open Juliana’s Sports Field to the community. Entertainment and activities were organized for the grand opening.
The festivities during the week were marked by a variety of vibrant performances. A significant presence of Zouk and Latin Fusion was skillfully spun by an array of talented local and visiting artists. The energetic beats of Soca music, a genre deeply rooted in Caribbean culture, further elevated the festive carnival spirit. An absolute crowd-pleaser was the ‘Big Jam’ event that featured well-known bands from around the region, turning the atmosphere into a pulsating dance festival. Adding diversity to the celebrations was the eagerly anticipated car show. This visual parade of cars was complemented by high-quality entertainment, highlighting the collective efforts of various bands, artists, and entertainers. Both these impressive nights were masterfully organized by BTP’s Aldo Jones.
Saturday’s Jouvert parade was met with an overwhelming turnout. Saturday afternoon troops like ‘Elements of Saba’, ‘Saba Land of Paradise’, ‘Unspoiled Kings & Queens’, ‘Happy Feet’, ‘Statia in Wonderland’, and ‘Queens of Queens’ marched through the streets in a vibrant performance. Sunday, the final day of the carnival, was a combined parade of both the adult troops and the children’s troops.
Carnival week reached its concussion with the traditional ritual of setting King Momo ablaze.
“Every year our main goal is to do better, the committee managed well under pressure with the challenges of this year, and the team did very well in achieving a successful carnival week” comments Robinson. The Carnival Committee gives special thanks to promoters, artists, bands, DJ’s, Taxi drivers, Tourism Bureau, and to the Saban community.