It’s now 2022! and man have we been through a turbulent two years! The last time I wrote, we were having a serious Carnival tabanca, so here we are, we finally all got let out the pen and were able to celebrate our first carnival in two years (thanks to Covid). I don’t know about some of you, but covid really taught me to enjoy my own company and solitude, so for the past two years socializing and going out have not really been big on my agenda. I was busy with life and school and got used to enjoying my own peace and space. Nevertheless, as the time drew near for Antigua’s greatest summer festival I began to feel a small twinge of excitement, and really looked forward to hanging out with my friends and family who were arriving from New Jersey and DC.
I had no plans to attend more than two fetes, however, the infamous “Duck Work” seemed to appeal to me this year and so at the last minute, I decided to go. The first fete we attended was the D’All Inclusive Breakfast Fete, which my friends and I attended back in 2019 and had an amazing time. We looked forward to it in 2020 but we all know what happened there.
So let me just go on record to say that I only attend this fete for one reason, “Cream of Wheat”…you heard me. They have an amazing cereal station and the best cream of wheat everrrr! I dunno man the cream of wheat is just really good, so this year my girl Nicole and I had two servings before we started to put down any alcohol, that way if we lost our faculties by midday cream of wheat was gonna save the day. We then moved on to the breakfast station which I have to say is also great, you have a choice of amazing local breakfast and a waffle and omelet station which I will definitely try next year, but I opted for local because I knew I was about to ingest many mimosas and other spirits.
Once breakfast was over the party heated up, various artists performed such as Antigua’s very own Claudette Peters, Tian Winter, Drastic, Three Cylinder, Shal Marshal out of Trinidad, and various DJs such as Supa Diamond and a few I don’t remember, you see how this is fading fast? That’s because by now I have visited the Mimosa bar at least six (6) times (bartender dem musta been sick a me) and they have turned on the mist sprinklers to cool us down because Satan was clearly in de fete an all!!!! The new venue I have to say was very nice as it allowed for more space due to Covid protocols, and the fact that the fete is becoming bigger in numbers, but we gonna need an a/c tent next year where people can go to avoid heat stroke because Satan and his whole crew were at the event.
A little later in the afternoon, I heard the Doubles Man straight out of TNT calling my name and proceeded to approach the doubles stand for my well-awaited deliciousness with all the various toppings in tow. If you never had the doubles at this fete, you simply must try them when you do make it. I am, however, upset with myself because I had plans to visit the snow cone stand as well as the hot dog station, but clearly, the doubles took over and I had no more space for anything. In all the fete was amazing as always, the bathroom team is always a plus for me they kept it in tip-top shape spic, and span! And I will definitely be back god spare life in 2023.
Moving on to “Duck Work”, lemme show alyuh how god is good to me….so I was really planning to duck work half an hour early “Legally” nobody go tell my employers how I was going duck work cause they knew I was leaving, me know how alyuh dangerous! But as fate would have it we got to leave work early anyhoo! So as my road sister and I prepared to hit the streets on that lovely Friday afternoon with four free days ahead, we jaunted to our destination. Now, this was our first time at the event, and needless to say when we got there the vibe done look and sounded NICE! As we entered people who were already there since possibly 10/11 am were already bouncing off the walls with happiness.
I met up with my cousins and other family and friends and man I have to say, I think that it was possibly the best fete I attended all year, not that the others were not great, but this had a more intimate feel and everyone knew one another it was more camaraderie than anything else, just a great set of people who enjoyed having a good time together, not to mention it is an older crowd so not too many youngins made it more bearable. We had such a great time that we literally closed down the fete till the DJ told us we don’t have to go home but we gotta get the hell up outta there. I had a wonderful time, and it is definitely a must again.
And now, the long-awaited De Breakfast Fete, drawing thousands from near and far every year to experience the excitement of Carnival before Mas. So this year my road sister and I along with my cousins decided that for once we were going to be early so that we can actually have breakfast! Let me just say that I have not had breakfast at breakfast fete in about five years, mainly because by the time I arrived at 9 am the lines were just too long, and I didn’t have the energy or the god-given patience. So arriving at 7:45 am was truly going to be a big deal for me.
We arrived at approximately 7:45am, where a plethora of police officers guided us to our parking spaces, I have to admit the vehicle security was not playing on that day, everyone had to straighten up and fly right. As we approached the entrance and walked in we realized that this year’s fete had a theme de “Safari” Breakfast Fete! The decor was very nice, they had a safari backdrop you could take your professional photos, and also a video photo station where they would email your moving photo to you right away.
We also noticed little safari teepees all around that people could sit under and relax. As we approached the breakfast section I noticed it was very well organized and we got our breakfast pretty quickly despite the crowd. Shout out to Krave Kitchen for the amazing omelet breakfast.
As we proceeded throughout the day many Aperol Spritzes and Sangrias later, we positioned ourselves under the entertainment tent which had a strong breeze flowing through it which really helped with the heat, because if y’all thought Satan went to the last breakfast fete, well he walked with his entire family to this one! If you didn’t believe in global warming before, you damn sure were gonna believe in it at De Breakfast Fete.
I cannot begin to explain the kind of heat that came out to play. Still, we pushed through and enjoyed the various acts on stage, with intermissions of DJs however, I will say that I am not a big calypso fan and so that part of it always bores me to death, and I did find that the segments were longer. My advice to the organizers (if they will listen) would be to give everyone time slots ..(I’m guessing maybe they do) and people just get carried away, but still time slots are essential so as to not bore those of us who are not big Calypso fanatics.
I’d like to see maybe a time slot or a few hours for the DJ since there are some of us who prefer the DJ vibe. One other addition I’d like to see again I repeat, is an a/c cooldown tent, folks I swear myself and others were on borderline heat stroke by 3:00 pm, not to mention I am now officially two shades darker than I had planned to be. In all, the fete was a success and we all really did enjoy ourselves, including my cousin who was 14 drinks down and near hallucination from the heat.
I’m just gonna move on past J’ouvert morning because my closest friends know how much I ABSOLUTELY hate J’ouvert!!! I think it is actually the most disgusting and grossest time of Carnival, you never know who had a bath at 4 am and by the time the early morning heat hits everyone looks like oil, sweat, grease, dirt, paint, and mud combined in a sweatshop. I don’t mind watching from a safe and far distance, but when I do I curse myself and say why do you do this to yourself? I actually retired from J’ouvert for ten years, until someone dragged me in 2019, which wasn’t so bad. However, due to covid this year everyone and their grandma came out to play and left much to be desired for me.
So by now, it’s almost a wrap and we are all sunburnt, exhausted, J’ouvert morning traumatized, and just ready to take it easy and watch the bands make their final lap in the streets, due to covid awareness and restrictions we did not have a lot of bands participating in actual mas as normal but the ones who did looked amazing.
Insane was really the only band I saw, and their costumes were gorgeous, my band Myst Carnival did not participate in full mas this year, however, seems like they have great plans for their Sweet 16th next year, so who knows maybe a girl will come out of retirement for one last lap if she can get herself together. We ended up at the Side of the Road crew for a few hours enjoying the revelers and music until it was time to finally go home. Well, Carnival is back, hopefully, there will be better things ahead in 2023, be it we are here for it, or we decide to travel. I do know one thing though,… I am NOT doing J’ouvert!
This post is dedicated to an amazing person and friend, whom we lost recently, Shevone Everette Galloway, who was an amazing friend with a heart of gold. She is not here with us in body, but she is always here in spirit. Carnival time was her favorite time of the year, and had she been with us still, she would have been in these photos.
Ev, I miss and love you dearly!! SIP hunny.
In Loving Memory of Shevone Galloway.
December 20th, 1979 – July 10th, 2022.