Edmonton loves a parade. There is something about sitting on the sidewalk, watching the floats go by, people waving and cheering both young and old. It is something that brings the community together.
I was 19, a fresh-faced University international student to weather the cold up in Edmonton. It was November and the Grey Cup was having a parade in the city. The theme was ‘Party in your Parka’. I was out there cheering on people who like me were bracing the cold for a parade. Then out of nowhere, I heard some Soca music playing. There were masqueraders in their carnival costumes dancing on the streets. It was hard for me to just hold back. My foot started tapping, my waist started moving and next thing you know I was full out dancing with these people in the parade. The cold was momentarily forgotten, and I was living my best life.
Over the years, I have watched many parades in this city, but to be IN the parade, that is a whole new experience that you must do at least once in your life. Some people swear that this is the highlight of their year, and it is not hard to see why. Carnival means dancing in the street to unbridled joy. It is a movement of rejoicing that you are free to be whoever you want to be. You do not need to be tied down to titles, race, or genders. You are there to let the music move you. This is your chance to dance like no one is watching. EveryBODY can play mas.
Back to that self-conscious 19-year-old, it did not matter who I was, where I was from or how I was dressed, I was enjoying something that is uniquely Edmonton. I was dancing and having fun and that was all that mattered. In case you were wondering, you do not have to be Caribbean to be in the parade. If you want to be in the parade, you can be in the parade. Get yourself a costume and you can experience the festival in a unique and exhilarating way.
Cariwest wants you to have fun in Edmonton’s only parade this summer!
The Cariwest parade takes place on August 6th at noon. We are personally inviting you to join a masquerade band and be in the parade. You, me, in a parade, let’s do this Edmonton!