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...Saving the best for today’s parade

By Kim Boodram

 MONDAY mas was no shrinking violet yesterday, as hundreds of masqueraders took to the streets of downtown Port of Spain to soak in the first day of Carnival 2014.

Most bands appeared to have seen a medium turnout of players, many sporting inventive Monday wear, having reserved their full costumes for today’s revelry. Machel Montano’s “Ministry of Road” appeared to be the most played song, followed by Kerwin DuBois’ “Too Real” and Farmer Nappy’s (Darryl Henry)  “Big People Party” along Tragarete Road, Adam Smith Square and downtown Port of Spain.

After weeks of confusion over to the accepted routes to be followed by those bands that will use the novel “Socadrome”, masqueraders who spoke to the Express yesterday said they were relieved to have been told that they may take to the Big Stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah after passing through the Socadrome, located at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

These included players from “party bands” Harts, Yuma, Bliss and Tribe, who, along with Passion Carnival, had up to late last week been told by the National Carnival Commission (NCC)  and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service that they would not be allowed to the Savannah following the Socadrome.

“It’s what we look forward to, the Savannah cannot be beat,” said one masquerader in Harts.

Some bands, including Tribe, Bliss and Harts, also made an unusual turn into downtown Port of Spain yesterday, turning from the Brian Lara Promenade onto St Vincent and Henry Streets, before hitting Adam Smith Square in Woodbrook.

Players were this year very much into the emerging culture of unique Monday wear, with many sporting outfits tailored by boutiques that now cater to this need.

Spectators on Tragarete Road and Ariapita Avenue were also lucky to see some substantial mas taking to the streets, including sections from bands such as Showtime, whose players appeared in near-complete costume.

By midday, however, there were less of the Jouvert stragglers who usually populate Port of Spain, looking for an extended “lime”.

Instead, clean-up crews were busy at work prepping the streets for a day of fresh mas.

There were no incidents of violence or unusual disturbances reported by masqueraders in these bands who spoke to the Express and on the streets, spectators also reported being pleased with the bathroom and rest-stop facilities at Victoria Square.

Vendors were however, less pleased than the feters, lamenting what they said was a day unprecedented in lacking sales.

“Where are the visitors today?,” one Tragarete Road vendor asked.

“This is the worst Monday I ever see. I maybe sell ten bottles of water and a few beers. I am not seeing any tourists at all this year.”

They were hopeful that today’s viewer turnout would yield better profits, as thousands are expected to line the streets for an eyeful of ‘pretty mas’.

At least one vendor, however, had a good day: one of Adam Smith Square’s sno-cone vendors, who, under the blazing March sun, was an oasis sought by many—even masqueraders in all-inclusive bands.

 
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