Over the Columbus Day Holiday weekend, excitement was stoked throughout the South Florida Caribbean community courtesy of the 2019 installment of Miami Carnival, as well as all the festivities and celebrations that sprouted therefrom. This year’s Miami Carnival marked its 35th anniversary, with North Miami serving as the situs of the first Carnival back in 1984. Naturally, the purpose of this marvelous event is to celebrate and showcase the beauty and uniqueness of Caribbean roots, culture, and heritage the world over. In that spirit, each year over the course of ten days in October that culminate on Columbus Day, more than 100,000 people come together from both within and outside Miami to revel in this energetic yet family-oriented Caribbean festival. The sights and sounds are always unmistakable, especially when it comes to the Carnival’s Sunday Parade and Concert later in the night. This year was no different as scores of bands and masqueraders strutted their stuff, while exhibiting their vibrantly colored costumes, in their quest to impress the judging panel and garner some of the most esteemed Carnival awards that will enable them to boast for years to come about their accomplishment at Miami Carnival.
Naturally, one who is not familiar may ask, “So What Exactly is Carnival”? Well, first and foremost, Carnival for Caribbean people—whether presently residing in the Diaspora or not—is not only their lifeblood, but also a way of life that has endured for centuries without pause. Put simply, Carnival is lies at the heart, soul and core of the Caribbean community—especially in the South Florida area which many thousands of folks with Caribbean heritage call home. What’s more, Carnival is brought to life by pageantry, color, beauty, and mystery. Mystery? Yes, many masqueraders don masks covering their faces as they march ‘down di road’ in celebration. Then, there is the music behind it all. That is, Soca is the bell cow where Carnival music is concerned.
Soca music is a genre of music that originated in Trinidad & Tobago in the early 1970’s. Since then, it has morphed into a variety of styles, which can be heard incessantly thumping at Carnival not only in Miami, but all over the globe. With this short lesson in mind, below are photo highlights from Miami Carnival 2019 that aim to convey the energy and thrill of attending and being surrounded by such an exciting and rhythmic atmosphere. Not only, that but at this story’s conclusion the results from this year’s Carnival will be summarized in order to recognize the accomplishments of all those who have worked so hard over the past year since the last Miami Carnival to make their indelible mark on the festivities. Enjoy!
Female Individual of the Year 2019
- Rennie Wilkinson portraying ‘Sun on Ice” from Natural Disasters Mas.
- Soowan Bramble, portraying “Moulin Rouge” from Euphoria Mas.
- Jessy Schuster portraying “Aviant, for Revels Labyrinth” from Revel Nation Carnival.
Male Individual of the Year, 2019
- Andalcio “Andy” Lewis portraying “The Ice Man Cometh” from Natural Disasters Mas.
Queen of Carnival, 2019
- Thesha “Trini” Lashley portraying “Freedom – World Peace” from Party Room Squad.
- Joanna De La Rosa portraying “Phantom Flora” from Revel Nation Carnival.
- Nicole Moreta portraying “La Marye” from Ti Chapo.
King of Carnival, 2019
- Percy Maynard portraying “Juda.Ra: The Last Pharoah” from Ramajay Mas International.
- Kenneth Antoine portraying “The Ice Pheonix” from Natural Disasters Mas
- Joseph Apoleon portraying “Le Marye” from Ti Chapo.
Band of the Year, 2019
- Freaks Mas portraying “The Oddessy”
- Ramajay International portraying “Reign: The Rise of an Empire”
- Big & Strong/One Island portraying “Shen Yun (Inspired) Dynasties”
- Generation X portraying “The Beauty in Chaos”
- Revel Nation Carnival portraying “Revels Labyrinth”
- Euphoria Productions portraying “Stages”
- Bajan Fuh Evah portraying “The Hunt – to be or not to be”
- Party Room Squad portraying “Alta Moda”
- Major Players Inc. portraying “Vogue”
- Natural Disasters Mas portraying “Festivals of the World”
- D Junction Mas portraying “Playhouse where Fantasies come alive”
- K-Paya/Red Antz Miami Portraying “Expressions”
Road March, 2019 (Calypso most played)
- Famalay (Machel Montano/Bunji Garlin/Skinny Fabulous)
- Nasty Up (Problem Child)
- Savannah Grass (Kes The Band)
And of course, I’d be remiss if I did not big up all the sponsors and contributors who not only made this year’s Miami Carnival possible, but also fantastic and memorable!
Photos by Nick Ford, who lives and works in South Florida.