This festival of Barbados was originally celebrated in the 1800s by slaves at the end of the sugar-cane harvest. A procession of carts and animals decorated with flowers would bring the last load of cane to the plantation owner, who would then provide a feast for the laborers. Now, Crop Over is the most anticipated event on the island. It begins in June and finishes strong on the first Monday of August with Grand Kadooment. This massive parade includes participants dancing their way through the local streets to Soca and Calypso music while dressed in vibrant, eye-catching costumes!
So you can imagine when Ryan asked if i wanted to join in… My response? Of course! All he needed was my measurements, (before I knew the details) I thought, “Cool, I might get a neat shirt or maybe matching shorts”. (This is where you can enter either his mischievous laugh or my nieve giggle).
Here is what I measured into:
This is Jane. I’ll call her a new friend, but she felt more like a sister. Comforting and welcoming with a noticeable warmth… what a joy to be around!
Here she is with and her husband Aldo there son Ethan. When I asked how soon the little guy got to “jump” in the carnival, dad said “next year” while mom just laughed. On average the locals usually start between 14-17 years of age depending on the household.
Its 7:45 in the morning and the troop is ready to hit the 6 mile parade!
If I need to justify why the drink trucks are already up and serving adult beverages at 8am…Let me remind you that I’m in Barbados.
First and only stop (the structured part of the day) is the arena where each “band” gets to cross the main stage and basically strut their stuff while representing their colors.
After this talent show, the crowd blends and we keep on whining and chipping away the celebration.
NOTE: Please see the J’ouvert post to recall the dance definitions of chipping and whining.
Here is a glimpse of some other varieties of costumes.
Although there are thousands of people, you are constantly running into friends. Some slow down to wait for the drink truck while others bounce ahead to their favorite song.
It’s miss Sarah Jane!
This is two of the dozen music trucks. Some are live bands, others have awesome Dj’s that keep the groups moving!
… And it keeps on going…
At some point in the journey, you’ve got to hop on a wall!
I loved involving the people that came to observe. Thank you for the idea and encouragement Ryan!
In Ryan’s words “Go big or go home”.
This little girl asked for one if his beads… Adorable!
Ooh, another friend! This is Dwayne, you may recognize him from the Segway Polo team that I described before. I met this fun loving angel in California last year. Whenever I mention his name, my mom usually interrupts me with “Awh, I just love Dwayne… He’s one of my favorites”.
Melodie and Kris… Quality energy. They jump every year, except that tiny bump you can’t see is their little peanut that will be here by next kadooment! Congrats to wonderful people adding to this magical planet!
The Police station is known as a fine place to slow your trek and take a moment to let your presence be known. I was told that in years past, full costumed people have ran in, hopped on the tables and danced for the employees. Take notice, the doors are now closed. Eh, handstand shot!
Well, no police station fun… so let’s just play friendly with the authorities then!
When the heat is at it’s peak, it’s so nice to run into the water fountains. They have hoses spraying for all involved that need a cooling off.
The temperature has been climbing all day with a few sprinkles here and there. That is the main reason you’ll notice less and less head pieces as the day goes on. I gave mine to a little girl on the side lines. Either that or you try to save it and end up with what looks like a drowned rooster on your head.
Feathers tickling my face before the rain…
…and her poor head piece after the soaking.
More creative beauty!
Random snap shots
During the final stretch (after 6 miles) we follow the coast with several options for food, different drinks and… Hold up, “Did you say food?”
I don’t think Ryan has seen me so ready to devour anything that was out in front of me. The last pic is me patiently, if you call it that, waiting for some edible nutrients.
“Thank you” doesn’t quite capture the gratitude I have for the friends of Barbados that made this trip what it was. Cheers to great times, priceless memories and plans for next year! All my love.