These Trinidad steel bands players contributed to the carnival atmosphere in Kingstown Friday.

ST. VINCENT: – Vincy Mas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ (SVG) carnival, climaxes this weekend with some of the major shows of the festival, marketed as “the hottest carnival in the Caribbean”.

By mid afternoon Friday, capital city, Kingstown, was already beginning to take on a carnival look and feel ahead of the four-day weekend.

Would be festival goers were making last minute preparations as party-lovers began to gather at Heritage Square, a popular watering hole in Kingstown. (More photos)

Some businesses places had used carnival costumes to decorate show windows and vendors prepared for the anticipated increased spending.

Outside the head offices of telecommunications giant and major Vincy Mas sponsor LIME, Point Fortin Iron Giants, a rhythm section from Trinidad, was hammering out the sweet sounds of steel.

They were joined by LIME employee Rondy “Luta” Mc Intosh, a member of the company-sponsored Soca Dons, of St. Vincent, in the soca and steel band fuelled mini street party.

That regional integration will be expanded Friday evening as ten beauties from across the region vie for the title of Miss Caribbean Carnival (Miss Carival), a show that showcases the beauty and intelligence of Caribbean women.

This year’s show will see delegates from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and host SVG. (More Photos)

“We expect nothing less than in 2009,” Anthony Dennie, the Carnival Development Corporation’s (CDC) Coordinator of Shows, told I Witness-News of “the region’s premier pageant”.

Contestants will make four judged appearances: swimwear, talent, evening wear, and interview. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)

Among the guest performers will be 2010 Ragga Soca Monarch, Delroy “Fyahman” Hooper, and 2009 Soca Monarch, Gamal “Skinny Fabulous” Doyle.

The two have been pitched as the major contenders for the Soca Monarch title, for which 18 artistes will compete on Saturday.

The pageant will also feature 2009 National Calypso Monarch, cancer survivor Bridgette “Joy-C” Creese, along with Potential Steel Orchestra and calypsonian Cornelius “Poorsah” Williams, both of which are this year celebrating 30 years in their respective art form.

Dennie said the CDC was anticipating 15,000 patrons at Soca Monarch, “the biggest show on the Vincentian cultural calendar”. He said the CDC had pushed the stage back an additional 10 feet to accommodate 2,000 more patron. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)

Demarche Gras on Sunday will be the turn of calypso bards, when “Joy-C” will defend her title against ten artistes, including several former monarchs. The King and Queen of the Bands competitions will also be staged that night.

“For junior carnival, the portrayals were quite excellent and at the sections of the bands last evening, a number of good sections crossed the stage and we anticipate some very good costumes Sunday night,” Dennie told I Witness-News on Friday.

Dennie said that patron could expect shows to start on time and to be completed within the time advertised, even as he said the CDC has been concerned, over the years, about the tardiness of mas bands getting to Victoria Park for Mardi Gras.

“All the CDC shows this year have been starting on time and we are going to be doing the same in the shows over the weekend,” he said.

Carnival lovers purchase t-shirts ahead of Monday’s street party.

“Especially the beauty show, we don’t want to have people in the park for too long, this show should go no longer than 12:30,” he added, saying the Soca Monarch show was “more or less a big party” that could go until about 2 a.m.

J’ouvert will take place during the pre-dawn and early morning hours of Monday while t-shirt bands will take to the street for a street party later that afternoon.

The t-shirt bands will include one from the Girl’s High School, which is joining in the festivities as part of activities to mark its centenary next year.

Judging controversy

But as carnival climaxes, the CDC would be seeking to avert the controversy that developed after the ragga soca competition last Friday.

“Fyahman”, also of the Soca Dons, won that competition, in which an employee of LIME, sponsor of the Soca Dons, was among the five judges of the competition.

The hullabaloo saw LIME withdrawing its advertisements from popular radio station Hot 97.1 on the heels of comments airs on the station regarding the judging of the competition.

LIME Marketing Manager Fitz Huggins said his company did not want to be “part of any baseless controversy”, saying the judge was a “reputable” one who has adjudicated others competitions in which “Fyahman” won and lost.

But Chief Executive Officer of the CDC Ashford Wood said the Corporation would in the future reconsider using the said judge in event where there could be a perceived conflict of interest.