THOUSANDS of south masqueraders feted on the streets of San Fernando, yesterday but there were only a small number of spectators to see the spectacle of bikini and beads.
In what was the 93rd celebration of Carnival in San Fernando, vendors complained that they were not getting the amount of sales they anticipated.
Some said the audience may have gone to Port of Spain.
Even the judges complained of showing up at their various judging points at 9 a.m. but having to wait several hours before the bands arrived.
And when they finally did, the flow was not constant.
Shortly before 11 a.m., the first band and five-time winner of the large band of the year South title Ivan Kalicharan jumped on the "stage" at High Street.
The 1,000-plus masqueraders portrayed We Going Carnival from the seven sections of the band—Spain, Italy, England, New Orleans, Brazil, France and Trinidad and Tobago.
Led by reigning Carnival Queen in San Fernando Gloria Dallsingh, they raised their flags and danced to Machel Montano's winning Soca Monarch tune "Pump Yuh Flag".
It took some time before medium band The Nation's People graced the stage. And it took a long while before the next band passed by.
At Independence Avenue, another large band Lionel Jagessar and Associates was getting ready to face the judges with its portrayal of Festival of the Nations. where San Fernando Mayor Marlene Coudray was taking in the festivities.
One of the large bands last year, the Owen C Hinds Foundation opted to participate in the medium band category this year because only 400 persons paid to play in that band as compared to last year's 2,500.
Band member Wilson Cadet said this band launched late but still was able to get masqueraders to play in the eight sections of the band with its main portrayal entitled " Hats off to Owen C. Hinds"—a tribute to the band's founder who died in November 2010.
Cadet who has been playing mas for 36 years, said he was disappointed with the quality of mas over the years, and it appeared many were not interested.
There were 15 bands scheduled to participate including the House of White Cloud, Southern Mas Associates, House of Gray Eagle Ltd, D Jammerz International, Pan Mas Traditions, Sports for Life, Tribal Fantasy of the Red Pass, Northern Worshippers and Mas in yuh Mas Production.
And Indians of all sorts were a main attraction. Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston "Gypsy" Peters and Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs were expected to attend the celebrations.