WHILE the smaller bands did not disappoint spectators with colour in downtown Port of Spain yesterday, it was Brian MacFarlane's bow-out presentation that stole the show.
Joy—The Finale, MacFarlane's last Carnival offering, glided down into South Quay with grace, colour and theatre around 4.30 p.m., stunning the hundreds lining the streets.
Many said they were not sure they would get a chance to see the six-time, Large Band of the Year downtown winner, when the evening started to close in. He has also won the Band of the Year (large) title at the Savannah five times.
Shouts of "look MacFarlane coming" began to echo when the quivering tail of the band's King, carried by Gerard Weekes, who tied for first place at Dimanche Gras last Sunday night with the costume "Ai To Yujo No Yorokobi" (The Joy of Love and Friendship), appeared at the western end of South Quay.
The band brought its theatre for the judges and spectators alike, replete with choreographed dance and drums.
Spectators expressed pleasure with the presentation, with many hoping MacFarlane would "change his mind" before Carnival 2014.
"He is really the only one doing this kind of mas today," said Celine Poulet of Arima.
"This was a real treat getting to see him today. It made the trip to town worth it."
Generally, the day was filled with colour and pure love for mas, whether players were part of a big band or small.
It was also clear that SuperBlue's "Fantastic Friday" was the song for the road downtown.
'D' Crewe was one of the larger bands to parade early, with Vintage People, which featured a healthy section of native American representations and a large contingent of jab molassie, with their cracking whips making more than a few children on the audience hide behind their parents.
Seen having a good time in K2K Alliance and Friends was Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
One of the most elaborate presentations of the day, K2K Alliance, wowed with The Human Race.
Smaller but no less excited to be on the road, Veni and Friends passed through in the early afternoon with Under the Sun or Rain in T&T.
Presenting a highly choreographed piece for the judges was Image Nation, while Wee International, with a larger player contingent and more youngsters in their overall presentation, Magnifique.
Up until late yesterday, downtown was incident-free and patrons said they were pleased with the arrangements and with the high level of police presence.
In addition to officers on foot, mounted police stayed around South Quay, where the crowd was the largest, to keep spectators within the lines and safe from passing music trucks.
Several warning were issued by the police, however, as the crowd grew and people began to drift into the roadway, that the entire area would be shut down unless spectators made an effort to stay off the roadway.
Vendors along the route also reported better business this year, saying Carnival 2012 was not as profitable.
"I think there were more people in town this year, definitely," said food vendor Sandra Ali, of Arima.