Parkway pitch – ‘Come to Barbados’
“Come on Down to Barbados next year.”
That was Steve Blackett’s clear message to West Indians and other New Yorkers yesterday just before the massive Caribbean carnival took to the Eastern Parkway thoroughfare in Brooklyn. More than a million spectators lined the Parkway for several hours to watch the parade.
The Minister of Culture and Community Development, accompanied by Ken Knight, chairman of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), delivered a short address at a pre-carnival breakfast and said that Crop-Over 2011 was the place to be for New Yorkers seeking to experience a slice of Caribbean culture.
The NCF put up about US$26 000 to help finance a Barbados costume and music band in the carnival and on Sunday night both the minister and the NCF chairman attended a large concert in which many of Barbados top entertainers participated in Brooklyn.
“It really showcases the cultural offerings that we have in Barbados because what we do is to bring a cadre of our artistes that would have performed and would have done well in the 2010 Crop-Over season,” the minister said.
“We are featuring of course the Calypso Monarch, the Mighty Gabby and other performers who would have performed stellar roles during the Crop-Over. First of all it is to showcase our calypsonians and other performers. Secondly, it is to make a pitch to the [Bajan] Diaspora and to other Caribbean people and Americans on the whole to encourage them to come to Crop-Over 2011.”
For his part, Knight said that the calypsonians and the costume band were essential to the NCF’s marketing thrust to pitch Crop-Over to an international level and “the best place to begin is with the Diaspora.”
The West Indian carnival is the largest street festival in the United States.