The Carubbian Festival conceived a few years ago in order to give San Nicholas a chance to shine, once a week, and make a little extra money, will apparently be coming back.
I spoke to its spiritual leader last week, Leon Berenos, and he confirmed they are almost ready to roll; some budget has to still be approved, so the starting date has been pushed back by a week, from June 8th to June 15th.
The way Leon explains it, it makes perfect sense.
The festival draws an average of 125 paying visitors, $65 per person, about 4,000 locals and another 500 walk-in visitors who find their own way.
Basically every Thursday, the roti and cocada venders of San Nicholas gain access to a great number of wallets, allowing them to regularly make an additional income.
The cost of the festival? About Awg 10,000 a pop which includes early evening entertainment, steel pans or an organ grinder, set-up, lights, security, a cultural show, and more Latin and Caribbean dance music post-show.
“We hit a record number of people with Mike Eman’s birthday when we had 10.000 people in the street, in 2011,” Leon recalls.
So that’s the idea, invite the locals, bus some tourists and showcase the town’s unique Caribbean flavors.
The festival is budgeted to unfold 45 weeks a year, and in its previous format 195 tourist busses made the trip to the sunrise side, in 2016. For the 2017 edition, their ticket would also include a visit to two museums, the Community- and the Industrial museum, besides food and transportation.
On a personal note Leon says he oversaw the festival for a number of years then took a leave of absence for two years. Things went downhill fast at the Carubbian, thus on March 11th, 2017, he returned, and will now be in charge of the improved production.
Leon reports the festival now unfolds on the Promenade of San Nicholas. He personally designed and produced the cultural show, which he now owns, and is prepared to share it with the resorts for a modest fee.
The show will undergo regular changes and refreshes every 3 months; he hand-picked the four program emcees with Clive Burke and Quincy Hasham among them, all professional, seasoned entertainers.
The investment in infrastructure, will pay off he says. Almost Awg 400,000 in water/electricity, lights, tables, tents, and chairs. It has all been ordered and it’s on its way, including uniforms for the vendors, nice menu stands with product descriptions and an overall improved “everything.”
We’ll take a trip down to San Nicholas to see you Leon, for the first edition, June 15th.