Akil Williams, art senior, and Edward Collins, psychology junior performing at the Caribfest Parade on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Photo by Stephen Gomez (Stephen Gomez)
Akil Williams, art senior, and Edward Collins, psychology junior performing at the Caribfest Parade on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. Photo by Stephen Gomez

Stephen Gomez

About 150 people watch Caribfest Parade

October 6, 2018

Before the afternoon rain sent the people watching the culture show scrambling, about 150 people — many of them also attending Family Day events — watched the Caribfest Parade with just as many actually participating in the parade.

Mariesam Isles, senior finance, said this was the second Caribfest she has been part of and was excited to see many other student organizations supporting and celebrating the tradition. As well, Isles said having such a large Dominica student presence helped comfort her as she came to the United States.

“There was a lot of Caribbean representation, and it falls on Family Weekend so we always have a lot of spectators,” Isles said. “I was able to acclimate better because I knew a lot of the students here better.”

With nearly 30 island nations in the Caribbean, different cultures are represented in this festival on the islands as well as on campus. With so many students from these various islands, the wide reach of the Caribbean cultures was felt throughout the campus.

“We have culture costumes, we have our gold rush where we have our silver paint,” Isles said. “In Grenada, they do Jab Jab where they use black oil, and we can’t use that here, so that [the paint] is a substitute.”

For Ginelle Fontinelle, clinical lab sciences freshman, her first experience at the Caribfest on campus allowed her to see the beauty in other cultures similar to her own Dominican culture. She said she was unfamiliar with the gold body painting because that is not a part of the Dominican Caribfest tradition, however, she said she loved seeing the cultural expression from others.

“We don’t have that, but it’s nice to see a part from your culture. It’s nice to see other Caribbean people’s [culture],” Fontinelle said. “It’s what this is all about. It’s nice to see people in these types of clothes, and it’s kind of different, but it’s exciting to learn something new than what you’re used to.”

Kira Joseph, clinical lab sciences freshman, is also from Dominica and she said she enjoyed seeing other people share their culture with others. She said the music, food and dancing allowed every to let go and have fun, so it was incredible to see people having a great time interacting with other people.

“We got the costumes, put things in place, and got our milk,” Joseph said. “The Soca Show was lit, Dominica won, the Pageant show was also lit—Dominica won, so we are sweeping everything this year. Just enjoying it and having a great time.”

One of the focuses for the Caribbean Student Organization was to promote inclusion and welcome different organizations into the festival, and although she isn’t a part of the CSO, Kenidee Cooper said she wanted to experience the parade and enjoyed every bit of it.

“I’m just American, but I decided to do this because it seemed fun,” Cooper said. “I want to see all the glitter and paint and everyone happy to see us. I know I’m not of the Caribbean descent, but they still are my people, so I want to learn how they do things, what goes on there.”

Cooper said people were extremely welcoming and complimenting one another regardless of their familiarity with a part of the festival or not. She said it was a friendly vibe throughout the crowd.

Before Caribfest ever started, Kam Tobin, one of the CSO chair members, helped supply many decorative costume pieces to various students, and the students wore their costumes with pride.

According to Cooper, students had to supply their own swimsuit, but the CSO chairs bedazzled and jeweled participants swimsuits for them with the colors of choice to match their “beautiful pieces” like the feathered armbands and head jewelry.

Mr. and Ms. Caribfest

  • Ms. Caribfest — Lydie Joseph, radiological sciences senior
  • Ms. Caribfest (runner-up) — Angel Williams, math senior
  • Mr. Caribfest — King Grantley Samuels, mechanical engineering senior
  • Mr. Caribfest (runner-up) — Taris Major, mechanical engineering senior

Soco Show Results

  • 1st place — Steven Williams sang “Liquid Courage”
  • 2nd place — Alson Abraham, biology sophomore, sang “Zoom Zoom”
  • 3rd place — Martin Thomas, management information systems sophomore, sang “Commander”



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