LAUNCHING OF SOKA: Chairman of the Soka in Moka Committee and Trinity College vice principal, Janice Richards (right) and Principal Alison Baisden (left) cut a ribbon to officially open a staircase from the basketball court to the level two driveway on the College grounds mere days before Soka in Moka. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

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Let the feting begin!

By Nigel Telesford

Well now, the Carnival season is finally here, but as fast as you can say, Ash Wednesday it will soon be over. A mere six weekends remain before the music, mas and revellery of our National Festival claim the streets of the nation and the hearts and minds of its people.

Many new promoters are destined for failure as they tempt the masses with all manner of boat rides and all-inclusive events and even some of the established promoters are taking precautions against the unpredictability of the shortened season. Island People's "Yeah" event will not be staged this year and neither will QRC's Alumni Association attempt to promote a fete this season. Bishop's has returned to the school grounds on January 12 and UWI Fete looks to be bigger than ever on January 13, but that's a look ahead at next weekend. In case you didn't realise before: the action starts from tomorrow.

2012 Triple Crown winner, Machel Montano will kick off his 2013 Carnival season this weekend with an exclusive debut performance at Fantasy Carnival's second annual cooler fete, dubbed "Savage Saturday". The sea-side Pier 1 venue in Chaguaramas is the location for this much anticipated event, which will also see solo singer, Michelle Xavier open up the live action for the Fantasy Carnival faithful.

"Happy New Year to everyone," said the Christmas-loving singer. "Now that Christmas is over, we're looking to kick things off with a bang this Saturday and get everyone into the Carnival spirit immediately—because, as we all know—the season is very short this year. I doh know about y'all, but I cyah wait to hold somebody and wuk, when I see Fantasy on de road this year… and ah coming with my Indian man too just in case!"

Known for its plethora of beautiful women, the Fantasy Carnival faithful will assemble from as early as 9 p.m., with coolers allowed until 1 a.m. Of course, no glass bottles will be allowed and there will be drinks and food on sale at the venue. Accompanied by the HD Band, as well as his HD family members, Patrice Roberts and Farmer Nappy, Montano advised his fans to expect a "Savage performance, that goin' to fog up de place and set the pace for Carnival 2013".

Meanwhile, over at the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Hospitality Institute, the St Francois Girls' College alumni will assemble for their annual fundraising fete, entitled "Soca Hula", which is scheduled to electrify the Chaguaramas valley from 6 to 11 pm. There, the Roy Cape All Stars will set the mood with live brass and Soca stars like Dexter "Blaxx" Stewart and Rodney "Benjai" Le Blanc and Kes The Band will officially start their 2013 "I-OK Tour" with the ladies of St Francois Girls' College.

"This year, we're taking a totally different approach to Carnival," said Kees Dieffenthaller. "We learnt a lot during our time overseas in 2012 and we want to apply those lessons to the stage, as we embark on a World Tour in 2013. Wherever and whenever you see Kes The Band in 2013, it will be a stop on our I-OK World Tour, which begins here in Trinidad, but will then take us to various parts of the globe. So, we're gonna be treating every performance with that extra special sauce and seasoning—every gig is a showcase event for us and a leg on the tour, so that way our fans are assured of getting 120 per cent every time.

"It's a short season, so it's gonna be jam-packed, but we're ready to pump and we want everyone to look out for their fellow feter and take care of their fellow masquerader on the road as well. The idea is that I-OK once U-OK, so we gonna be asking and we want the people to check around with each other and answer as one."

Also happening this Saturday night is TRIBE Carnival's "ICE" event, which stands for "Insane Cooler Experience" and will be held at the Jean Pierre Complex on Wrightson Road. On Sunday, all roads lead to the event which used to officially mark the start of the Carnival season and is still touted as one of the best all-inclusive fetes each year: "Soka in Moka". Hosted by the Trinity College Alumni association and held annually on the scenic and spacious grounds at Trinity College in Moka,Maraval, this year's installment will be held in memory of Association past president and former chaiman of the "Soka in Moka" committee, Norris Campbell.

This event continues to be a success," said Committee PRO, Dexter Charles, "and a major source of funding for the upkeep and the upgrade of the facilities and educational programmes offered at the school, which will mark its 55th anniversary as one of the top educational institutions in the country.

This year, we are pleased to have Dil-E-Nadan, Kes The Band and the Roy Cape All Stars back with us, as well as a host of new dishes, desserts and surprises.

"We are also happy to have commissioned, completed and opened a new staircase," he added. This staircase has been dedicated to the memory of Norris Campbell, whose hard work and dedication was always geared to moving his alma mater upwards to higher heights.

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