T-Shirt Mas’ transforms the city into a kaleidoscope of colors; police host festivities largely without incident

Revelers bustled the streets of St John’s on Saturday (Photos by Gemma Handy and Johnny Jno-Baptiste)

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By Gemma Handy

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The mood was on, the music upbeat and the atmosphere electrifying as revelers took to the streets of the capital on Saturday for the highly anticipated T-Shirt Mas parade.

Residents transformed the town of St John’s into a kaleidoscopic display of color and vibrancy, enhanced by live appearances from some of the country’s biggest soca stars.

Three years after the last edition of the Carnival – before the Covid pandemic curbed large gatherings – the time lapse seems to have only fueled the energy of participants who danced, danced and sang along the route.

Crowds lined the streets to watch the parade which started from Culture House and went along Independence Drive, Queen Elizabeth Highway, Redcliffe Street and High Street, before winding its way back via Old Parham Road and Simon Bolívar Drive.

Previous plans to remove this year’s Carnival parades from the city and around Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium to ease congestion had drawn a stormy response from the public.

While police said the alternative route would be easier to manage, many revelers felt it was too long while street vendors who traditionally ply their trade along the way feared a loss of sales.

At least one video circulating on social media on Saturday showed a small skirmish between the mas participants. But police confirmed to the Observer yesterday that there were no arrests and the event was mostly uneventful.

The official carnival celebrations will begin on Wednesday with an opening ceremony, followed by the Jaycees Caribbean Queen Show that evening. Thursday night will see the Melting Pot concert, followed by the Calypso Monarch Finals on Friday and the Party Monarch Finals on Saturday.

On the evening of July 31, there is a ‘pan de mix’ steelpan show and nightly celebrations ahead of Emancipation Day on August 1, when the J’ouvert morning street party will take place. The festivities will culminate with a final parade of bands followed by a “last ride” on August 2.

August 1 and 2 are public holidays.

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Elizabeth J. Harless