Flurries of vibrantly coloured floats, banners and costumes were in constant motion as performers energetically gyrated to the sensational sounds of the sweet Junkanoo rhythm pulsating through the streets of Marsh Harbour for the 2018 Junkanoo Love Rush Parade held in honour of Colon Curry on Feb. 23, 2018.
The event was organized by the All Abaco Junkanoo & Cultural Committee in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
Junkanoo Committee Chairman William “Tony” Davis announced each school group for Junior Junkanoo as they lined up to showcase their talent just after 6 p.m. on Friday. The first school to excite the crowd for the Pre-School category was Grace Baptist Pre-School. Their theme was “GBPS Presents Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss.”
Characters created by the well-loved storybook author Theodor Geisel better known by his pen name, Dr. Seuss, came to life as the tiny ones made their way toward the end of the short route dancing, beating drums, shaking cowbells and blowing horns. Among the characters was the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch and Thing 1 and Thing 2.
Teaching Children to Achieve (TCA) Pre-School presented “Pirates Treasure on Fairy Island” accentuated by gold nuggets, jewelry, parrots, pirates, and a series of 15-cent pieces at the base of their float. A pirate ship complete with a cannonball made up the back section of their group.
Change Preparatory School (CPS) was the final group to be represented in the Pre-School category. The CPS Warriors introduced the audience to “Candy Land: Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth.” Tiny voices cried out “Who Are We?” while others responded “The Warriors!”
Butterflies with candy-shaped wings fluttered around students dressed in candy canes, M&Ms, Snickers and Skittles costumes that were rife throughout the parade.
Next up were the Primary School competitors. Cooper’s Town Primary School participants taunted their rivals by bellowing out – “Oh, they scared, they scared!” as they showed off their motion in dance. Straw-woven headpieces, Androsian printed skirts, and sashes worn by the dancers bore the names of Bahamian delicacies like fire engine, peas n’ rice, conch salad, Johnny cake and guava duff.
Paying tribute to the man of the hour was Treasure Cay Primary School with their “SS Colon Curry: X Marks the Spot – A Pirate’s Adventure” theme. Female pirate dancers in yellow and black and red and black outfits wore eye patches and brandished swords.
However, St. Francis de Sales Catholic School was not to be outdone with their suspenseful “Within the Deep” theme. Walt Disney’s “Under the Sea” music from the Little Mermaids played belying the predatory marine creatures that encircled the float. Lifelike sharks adorned its sides, while the two little mermaids sat inside an oyster shell blowing bubbles oblivious to the danger that lurked nearby. There were also colossal sea turtles, coral reefs, and assorted fish.
Meanwhile, the students of Central Abaco Primary School (CAPS) brought the theme of “Egyptian Dynasty” to life with great sphinxes, pharaohs and lovely Egyptian ladies bedazzled in jewelry, heavily-mascaraed eyes and Egyptian attire as they energetically danced along the route.
The only school to participate in the High School division was S.C. Bootle High School out of Cooper’s Town. They did not disappoint, however, taking full advantage of the crowd’s enthusiasm with an “It’s a Bahamian Ting” theme.
They incorporated the world-famous Straw Market complemented by a young girl plaiting straw as she sat and sitting among attractive straw dolls, straw hats, straw bags and tie dyed T-shirts. Considered one of the oldest industries in The Bahamas, vendors fashion handmade Bahamian crafts, gifts, souvenirs, and items such as hand-woven straw hats, bags, mats, dolls, conch shell jewelry as well as wood carvings to sell.
Surrounding the BAIC Park, vendors were on hand to sell a variety of food and drinks, conch salad, ice-cream and fun toys for the children. Following a full weekend of Junkanoo events with Senior Junkanoo taking place the following night, everyone was anxious to hear the results of this year’s Junkanoo parades.
By 1 p.m. on Feb. 26, the results were finally in, and announced on Radio Abaco.
For the pre-schools, Change Preparatory School was the winner with 979 total points. Teaching Children to achieve Pre-School placed second with, 929 points, and Grace Baptist Pre-School accumulated 900 points.
On to the primary schools, St. Francis de Sales was victorious with 2,754 placing them in first place. Treasure Cay Primary was second with 2,585 points, followed by Central Abaco Primary in third place with 2,354 points, and Cooper’s Town Primary, fourth with 2,297 points.
Of course, S.C. Bootle was the winner as the only entrant in the high school category. They received 551 points for banner; 93 points for the execution of the theme; 835 for group points; 495 points for music; and 350 points for group performance for a total of 2,324.
Overall, Williams said that although the participation was smaller, the level of production in the competition this year was much better in all of the schools than in previous years.
“It seemed as if the principals of the schools were much more down to earth with the kids, and really supportive and enjoying it,” he explained. “It was like a whole happy, family reunion.”
As for the honouree, Williams said the committee made the decision to honour Colon Curry because of his major health challenges, and to “give him his roses” while he is still here with us.
Williams explained that the Junkanoo parade gave the committee members the opportunity to show gratitude for the years Curry has assisted with developing Junkanoo culture on the island. Not only did he assist with the development of his own group – the Spring City Rockers – but he has helped in the schools as well particularly at Patrick J. Bethel High School. He’s also been instrumental in Hope Town working with the groups there for their Junkanoo events.
“It was only fitting that we honour him, and show him that respect,” Williams concluded.