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 community together.
I was 19, a fresh-faced University student coming from the Caribbean 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 all these people who like me was 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 starting moving and next thing you know I was full out dancing with these people in parade. It was a great time to be alive.
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 in the Caribbean meant dancing in the street to unbridled joy. It was a movement of rejoicing that you were free to be who ever you want to be. You do not need to be tied down to titles, race, or genders. You were there to let the music move you. This was your chance to dance like no one was watching.
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.
This summer, the Cariwest parade takes place on August 8th. I am personally inviting you to join a masquerade band and be in the parade. You, me and in a parade, let’s do this Edmonton!
Mas Band Launch 2020
Date: May 2, 2020
Location: Art Gallery of Alberta
More Information: www.cariwest.ca
Contributor: Nadia Goodhart