A large crowd turned out to the official launch of Vincy Mas 2014 in Kingstown on Saturday at an event that showcased all elements of the festival except mas, and saw three bards winning their first crowns of the season.
Chair of the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) Denis Ambrose, in his address to patron, said the launch is an important event, although it does not generate much money.
“This launch in particular is the big kick start to Carnival and I think you can realise that it doesn’t quiet earn its keep in generating much needed funds for the festival.
“But the CDC sees the importance of getting this event off the ground and getting the message out far and wide to encourage our nationals and visitors to join us in this great cultural expression we call Vincy Mas,” he told Carnival lovers at Solidarity Car Park.
Ambrose said it has become a tradition that the launch resounds in the way that it did on Saturday.
From mid-morning, trucks to the Leeward and Windward sides of St. Vincent made whistle stops at several places, hyping the launch.
Later that evening, hundreds of persons partied behind the trucks as they made their way back into Kingstown, culminating with a massive street party on Bay Street.
There were also family-oriented activities at Heritage Square in Kingstown.
Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism and Culture Cecil McKie said Carnival is undoubtedly the largest cultural event in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
He said that in June and July, the months of the festival, the nation welcomes 12,000 to 15,000 stay-over visitors.
“We have to ensure that we continue to offer these visitors the chance to see everything cultural that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has to offer.
“We have to ensure that we expose them to the various talents that we have here across the three components here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We have to ensure that we entertain them in other aspects of our culture.
“We have to expose them to the cuisine of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. And we have to show them, in unmistakable terms, that we have here the hottest Carnival in the Caribbean,” McKie said.
He said the launch of Vincy Mas was initiated to give the component of Carnival the opportunity to test their readiness for June-July and to remind persons of the exact dates of Carnival.
“And we want to put on showcase and tease the public in terms of what will be on offer for Carnival 2014,” McKie further said.
The Tourism Minister also noted that a launch of Vincy Mas was also taking place in New York that same day, and 15 persons were competing in the Best New Song competition there.
“It means, therefore, that they are achieving their objective of attracting persons to the launch up there and also to get persons to come down here to St. Vincent for Vincy Mas,” he said.
Saturday’s launch also saw the first official public appearance of the eight contestants in the Miss SVG 2014 pageant.
There was a performance by the Sion Hill Euphonium Steel Orchestra, and the Best New Song competition was also held in calypso, ragga soca, and soca categories.
Results of Best New Song Competition:
2nd Sulle and Defoe (tie)
2nd Wiz Kid
3rd Queen B
2nd Cleo Patra