CayMAS is causing “carnival envy” throughout the world

Daphne Ewing Chow (Loop Caribbean) on CayMAS:

CayMAS, Cayman’s boutique carnival event and one of the highlights of the Cayman Island carnival season, which also includes Batabano which was cancelled this year, is causing carnival-envy around the world.

On Friday, Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell, announced the cancellation of the Spicemas carnival 2021 celebrations for the second consecutive year, due to the pandemic.

Also cancelled this year have been Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnival in Trinidad and “the world’s biggest party” in Rio de Janeiro.

The Cayman islands’ severe lockdown, a figment of legends (or nightmares), that was experienced at the beginning of the pandemic has made Cayman one of the only countries in the world with no community transmission or need for masks. Well— not medical masks that is— revelers are open to wear masks and beautifully designed costumes in what might just be one of the Caribbean’s only carnival street parades for 2021.

Last year, CayMAS and Batabano organizers had designed a joint festival during the same weekend but when the event was forced to cancel due to COVID-19, CayMAS’ director, Craig Fredrick hoped for a return this year.

And he’s getting what he wished for…

Taking place from June 30 to July 5, 2021, this year’s Caymas will surely be a celebration of all the sacrifices and hard earned wins that the Cayman Islands have experienced during the pandemic, and with premier, Alden McLaughlin’s confidence that the island might have achieved its goal of 70 per cent vaccination and herd immunity by that time, there might just be an added reason to party.

CayMAS’ schedule of activities, which consists of musical and parade events such as Soca At Dawn (June 26), Soca On The Beach (June 30), Happy Parrot Block Party (July 1), Huukie Day Fete (July 2), Flaunt Fete (July 2), Chicken Run Breakfast Fete (July 3), Swanky AfterMAS (July 3), Tide Up Boat Flex (July 4) and Swanky Couture (July 5), culminates on Constitution Holiday weekend when revelers put on the costumes of their respective bands and jump in the vibrant CayMAS Street Parade.

The ‘masquerade’ which begins in George Town on the afternoon of July 3, will feature music trucks pelting infectious and pulsating soca rhythms followed by a kaleidoscope of costumed revelers representing bands such as Swanky International, Kalabbra Entertainment, Liquid Ice, Iconz Cayman, Chicken Run, Azucar and Quintessential Movement, making their way down West Bay road to Seven Mile Beach.

But there will of course one major difference to celebrations of years past. As a major tourism product of the Cayman Islands, CayMAS won’t be quite the same without all of the visitors, and with public gathering restrictions that may or may not be in place at the time, organizers will have to find a way to control the crowds.

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