Coconut Telefax: Carnival 65 Edition
Photo Credit: 24ora
Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes Hands Over the Command of the Island
Following the traditional transition of power, the island’s Prime Minister had the pleasure of meeting Prince Bon and Pancho Malo, just recently. The two Carnival figures were handed the symbolic key to the city by the PM, and in turn introduced her to their court, this year’s resplendent lineup of queens, as well as two more sets of Prince and Pancho, representing the island’s kids and youth, respectively.
As is customary, the Prince and Pancho read their humorous royal Carnival decree to the PM, sharing with her their ideas and plans for a successful Carnival season.
The PM reminded the new rulers about sun protection and the extra care given to kids and babies during the Carnival season. She also asked them to celebrate responsibly and make sure their kingdom stays safe!
The PM then presented each member of the royal Carnival court with a commemorative pin!
Aruba is celebrating Carnival 65, with parades, costumes, and music, with the members of the royal court spearheading all festivities.
J’ouvert Morning 2019
The PJ parade, better known as J’ouvert Morning, started at 3 am on Saturday and concluded at 8 am. The long throng of dancers in the craziest outfits completed a loop running through the sleepy streets of San Nicolas to great music.
Bands participated in record numbers, with BMW, Madness, Tsunami, Buleria, ‘Nfusion, and LG leading the pack.
We trailed behind LG the first half of the road, then jumped ship to ‘Nfuzion. We wound up on the road with “Soca Lovin,” and yes, Chayo, to answer your question, we could feel it!
The band was electrifying, and we jammed back to the ballpark, having stopped for refreshments at Julio’s bar, surrounded by hundreds of happy, smiling people having a great time.
Did it have anything to do with band members dressed in Depend diapers? No, but the diapers added to the tongue-in-cheek experience, and as one of my GFs quipped, “It reminds me why I live in Aruba.”
The People’s Carnival was an unforgettable experience.
Legend has it that the PJ parade started years ago when the ladies of the night, the sex workers in the San Nicolas red light district, created their own parade at 3 am because they had to observe office hours during the traditional daytime parade, so they opted to host their special celebration at alternative hours.
Aruba’s Lighting Parade—More Magnificent Each Year!
This year’s parade started at Avenida Milo Croes and moved in the direction of Vondellaan, to Talk of the Town Resort, then down the main boulevard to disperse next to the Valero gas station, with permission to keep the music on until Wendy’s at the next roundabout in order to avoid a traffic bottleneck.
The parade left on time, at 8:18 pm, and concluded around 2 am, with 4,380 participants. The parade, spread over 4 km, was directed by 230 law enforcement personnel and included 12 groups, 2 brass bands, one steel band, and a disco. (Last year, in comparison, saw 7 groups and 2,730 participants.)
Aruba’s Lighting Parade, Carnival 65, was opened by the Empire Carnival Group, themed Neon Party, by virtue of its candidate for the Grand Carnival Queen Contest winning the ultimate Carnival Queen crown.
Queen Mimi rode at the opening of the parade on a lovely illuminated float, shared by many other previous title winners. Empire Carnival Group decided in honor of the island’s 65th Carnival to salute those past queens with one more parade. They also facilitated a comeback for MUSICAL TIMES, a popular ‘80s band, and got the original performers together for this year’s Carnival festivities.
The opening segment of the parade was put together by ELITE and sponsored by Setar, with the Setar dancers magnificently costumed. Our communication provider also contributed to a great sound setup for UPGRADE MUSIC, headlined by JEON, Aruba’s international reggaeton star, who graced that trailer with his musical presence.
The groups then followed in fast succession. Dushi Carnival Group embraced the theme of Land of Dreams with bright yellow and magenta unicorns. The phenomenal Champagne Carnival Group, with 300 bling-laden revelers, recreated a show-stopping historical float, used as the Queen’s float more than 10 years ago, for the occasion.
TOB Carnival Group, with its band ‘NFuzion, ran five music relay units within the group to guarantee that the music gets everywhere and fuels the fever. The band’s hit, “Soca Lovin” by Chayo, will surely end up the road jam, as the public’s favorite. The group itself was spectacularly costumed in very imaginative interpretations of the epic Game of Thrones, supported by an overload of feathers and crystals in silver and royal blue, serving as a tribute to TOB’s unique creativity and drive. TOB was started more than 17 years ago by the island’s minister of regional planning, infrastructure, and environment, Otmar Oduber.
Royal Carnival Group, with 180 participants in Cabaret Royale, following Kevin James and the NBO Band; Majestic Carnival Group, with over 100 participants following the BMW band; Pink for Life Carnival Group, following Le Groove, a band known today by its LG initials only; Infinity Carnival Group, with over 350 participants following the DELICIOUS band; Los Laga Bai Carnival Group; Soca Kingdom Carnival Group; and OPC Carnival Group, with the Colegio Arubano queen, all paid homage to a great tradition that started in 1981 with the first Lighting Parade by Tivoli Club, inspired by…. Disney.