The ceremony was preceded by an Eat Local Day food fair, hosted by the Department of Agriculture and the Tourism Authority.
The opening ceremony featured performances by young female reggae artistes such as Empress Levity and Diamonized. The event also provided a glimpse into some of the troupes which will be participating in the various carnival street events.
The chairperson of National Carnival, Ms. Shannon Hawley, said that this year’s Sugar Mas will have events for persons of all ages and that the National Carnival Committee (NCC) had listened to all suggestions and that they could not introduce everything that was suggested, but explained that no stone was left unturned.
Ms. Hawley also went on to announce that a popular activity which was a part of carnivals in the past, an Action Avenue, will be re-introduced. Ms. Hawley added that the NCC saw Action Avenue as an important feature for patrons who are not interested in attending some o the events at the Sugar Mill. This therefore is a venue for socializing by visitors and residents.
The Action Avenue will be located on Bank Street throughout the carnival season.
The Minister with responsibility for carnival Ms. Marcela Liburd encouraged the general public to participate but to do so responsibly and respectfully.
Ms. Liburd also thanked the private sector for its sponsorship and then declared Sugar Mas opened.
Another feature of the opening ceremony saw a special presentation being made to veteran calypsonian King Ellie Matt, in recognition of his many years of contribution to carnival.
King Ellie Matt then took to the stage to deliver a spirited performance, stating that “sick or no sick, I will always perform for my fans.
King Ellie Matt entertained the huge crowd with his classic tunes such as Viva St. Kitts and Sugar City Jammin, leaving his audiences begging for more.
The opening ceremony also had a special appearance by Trinidadian calypsonian, “De Explainer” who continued to move the crowd following Ellie Matt’s performance.
In the Panorama contest which followed the opening, the Cayon High School Pantastics were once again declared the winners of the Panorama competition.
The three participating schools were Basseterre High Sugar Sticks, Sandy Point High Sparks and Cayon High Pantastics.
All three schools performed the classic tune from Ellie Matt “Gimme Room” and all schools added their own style and flair to the song.
The 40th edition of Sugar Mas will run for 40 days under the theme “Non Stop Mas and Party.”