Saint Lucia Readies For A Bumper Carnival Season – St. Lucia Times

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Primary stakeholders are excited about prospects for Saint Lucia carnival growing bigger and better.

On Thursday, representatives from the key agencies, band leaders, artistes, service providers, and other mas enthusiasts gathered at Sandals Grande for the media launch of this year’s event.

The popular mid-summer festival will run from July 1 to 17.

According to the organizers, the responses from local and global patrons have been favorable, with an overflow of registration into the respective bands.

“Carnival in Saint Lucia is more than just Mas, more than just what happens on the road for a couple of days,” declared Minister of Tourism and Creative Industries Dr. Ernest Hilaire.

“It is part of our culture, it helps define who we are as a people,” he told the gathering.

“And therefore…it plays a very important part in unlocking and unleashing the creativity of our people, the musician, the artiste, the costume makers and persons taking part in the various pageants,” the minister added.

Hectic preparations have been ongoing for another carnival season, with revelers eager to participate.

Hilaire described the event as the “biggest festival” in the country.

He noted that the carnival is “a powerful economic agent in Saint Lucia.”

The minister recalled that the Island attracted more than 18,000 visitors last year for the festivity, with July recording the most stayover visitors for the year.

“It tells you about the importance that carnival has for our economic growth and our economic development. It brings in substantial income into this country,” said Hilaire.

He said many persons and entities benefit from carnival’s “economic impact”.

“And therefore, it is something that we need to protect,” he stressed.

He said it was necessary to ensure the continued to grow because more people were earning livelihoods from it.

“It continues to grow in every year, in every way,” declared Tamara Gibson, Chairperson of the Carnival Planning and Management Committee (CPMC).

“We’re arguably one of the best summer festivals in the region offering events catering to every age group, every preference and every budget,” she said.

While appealing for wider public participation in the festivity, Gibson said, “larger volumes of people (are) attending our national competitions and greater quality of experiences all around, including at the community level.”

She added, “We are building a sustainable carnival that defines us as Saint Lucian people and one that will last for generations to come.”