If you haven’t yet heard about this festival, it’s basically Carnival in the summertime, where you can experience the same competitions, events, and fetes, just further north…Way north, in Toronto, Canada!
Understand now, why it’s in the summertime? :-)
It’s a lot of fun. I first heard about Caribana, years ago, when I befriended some people with Caribbean roots, namely Trinidad, which is where the creators of the of the festival hail from. I was more intrigued when I heard Soca music (that stuff is great), and learned that this festival is dedicated to this type of music, and I could easily get to it…Excellent! (At the time, passports were not needed to enter Canada) Combine that with parading around with complete strangers, in revealing costumes, adorned with feathers & jewels, and you have yourself a good time!!
So while I knew about it, I still didn’t have access to it. Then, something wonderful happened. A girlfriend of a friend, had actually played mas, in the Caribana parade! I said: ”Dude, you gotta let me talk to her! I need to know how I can sign up. How this stuff works!” So I talk to her, and she assures me that try-outs are not necessary, nor is learning a choreographed dance routine! I laugh at that, now, but when you are observing the spectacle that is Caribana, as an outsider, with the big fancy costumes, and the seemingly synchronized dancing, it looks like there may be some requirements! Steps need to be learned, you have to make the cut!
But, no. The only requirement is money, and to pay it on time!