Junior Batabano is set to hit the streets of George Town on Saturday May 11, 2019 with the theme “Once Upon A Turtle”, which pays homage to Cayman’s turtling heritage.
“One of our new marketing initiatives for Cayman Carnival Batabano overall going forward is to reconnect the carnival in creative ways with the original meaning of the word ‘Batabano’, which is the native Caymanian term for the tracks left in the sand when turtles go ashore to nest during nesting season, which typically starts around May each year,” explained the Chairperson of the Cayman Carnival Batabano Committee, Donna Myrie-Stephen. “With the turtle nesting season being all about the emergence of turtle hatchlings, it was only fitting that we launch this new initiative with the Juniors.”
This year’s Junior Batabano costumes were therefore designed and created by returning costume designer, Richard Bartholomew of Trinidad, along with Shane James. Each school’s costume(s) will represent some aspect of Cayman’s turtling heritage, as well as a few fantasy turtles.
There are six schools and more than 400 children and teens participating this year from the following schools: Cayman International School will have 25 students donning the costume design called “Sailing in Las Tortugas”; Red Bay Primary School will have 39 students wearing costumes called “Save The Turtles”; Savannah Primary School will have 66 students in the “My Favourite Turtle Souveneir” costume; and George Town Primary will have 49 students in two sections wearing costumes called “Have You Ever Seen A Flying Turtle” and “Sir Turtle Playing Mas”.
St. Ignatius Catholic School’s entry this year will have 147 students in four different costume sections under the theme “The Turtle Cycle”. The sections are called: “Emerging At Full Moon”; “The Race For Survival”; “Batabano In The Sand”; and “A Nest Of Eggs”.
John A. Cumber Primary School is returning to the Junior Batabano parade after an eight-year hiatus, and will have 77 students sporting the costume design called “Hidden In The Kelp”.
The Cayman Islands Boy Scouts will also be in the Junior Batabano parade, as well as a local group of young beauty queens.
The Junior Batabano participating schools are competing for the following prizes again this year: Junior Batabano Band of the Year; Second Runner Up; Third Runner Up; and Spirit of Junior Batabano.
“Everyone involved is very excited about this year’s Junior Batabano turtle theme and are all looking forward to seeing the costumes in the parade,” said WendyAnn George, the Batabano Committee member who has been coordinating Junior Batabano for the past 10 years. “We’re also looking forward to the Family Fun Day activities and the much-anticipated dance competition following the parade where each school will compete for the coveted Junior Batabano Band Of The Year title, and other prizes.”
The event starts with Family Fun Day activities on the lawns of the old Glass House at 1pm, with lots of games, activities, food, mask-decorating, face painting, and much more.
Then at 3pm, pick a spot along the parade route as 400+ children wind their way from the Glass House on Elgin Avenue through the heart of George Town and back to the Glass House where they will each perform choregraphed dances on stage as part of the competition for prizes. The event is expected to end by 6pm.
Later that evening, from 7pm-11pm, the annual Junior Batabano Teen Dance takes place at King’s Sport Center for teens aged 13-16 only. Admission is CI$15 to dance, or CI$20 to dance and skate.
Junior Batabano is sponsored by: The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman; The Ministry of District Administration, Tourism, and Transport; The Ministry of Health, Environment, Culture, and Housing; Pinnacle Media; DMS Broadcasting; Cayman Airways; Picture This; Le Classique; DHL; Butterfield; Cayman National Bank; and Netclues.
The Batabano Chairperson added: “We’re always thrilled to see so many schools, families, and local businesses continuing to put their support behind this cultural experience for our young people, because they really are the future of Batabano. We sincerely thank all Junior Batabano supporters and sponsors, and we look forward to the continued support.”