Liburd said one of the major new initiatives was the relocation of the Culturama Food Fair, which was usually held at the Charlestown Villa Grounds and was moved to the new location at the Pinney’s Beach Entertainment Park.
Liburd explained, “The event had outgrown the size of the Villa Grounds, and we also wanted to introduce new activities. We wanted to introduce Kid’s Zone… some beach volleyball, beach football, and we also wanted to change the layout.”
He indicated that with the expanded space, a new arrangement of booths made the location more attractive and convenient for patrons. “It allowed easy movement from booth to booth, and it was more organized, for example, having our craft vendors in one area and all the barbecue vendors in another area.”
Liburd continued, “The arrangement created an atmosphere that encouraged people to stay at the venue and enjoy the entertainment and the food provided by performers and vendors. The attendance was very high, as a matter of fact, it was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at a Culturama Food Fair, and a number of persons would attest to that, that it was the largest they have ever seen in the 41-year history of Culturama.”
According to Liburd, another reason for the move was traffic and parking. “At the Villa Grounds, there was limited parking, and it was done mainly along the streets. The Police had difficulty in maintaining the steady flow of traffic on Main Street,” said Liburd, who affirmed that the new location resolved the parking and traffic flow issues.
Another new initiative, he said, was the introduction of a new parade route. According to Liburd, the idea of changing the route was considered over a few years
“We wanted the troupes to have their performances on the street, rather than off street in a controlled venue,” said Liburd, who explained, “The whole idea of street theatre is what drove the decision to change the route. That’s what was dominant in our minds. We wanted them to have an extended period of reveling on the street, to create a different atmosphere on the streets on parade day.”
“We were able to achieve that on the Tuesday – starting at the Villa Grounds and after making one pass around Charlestown, they performed on a stage that was provided for them at the TDC parking lot. It worked out beautifully, except for one drawback, the stage was not high enough. We have noted that, and next year we will ensure it would be high enough, so that all patrons could have full view of what is taking place on the stage.”
Liburd was also very pleased about Nevis winning the Miss Caribbean Culture Queen Pageant, recalling that Nevis won the inaugural show in 2006, with Ms. Jamilla Parris was the successful contestant.
According to Liburd, Nevis never got close to winning since that time. Akiesha Fergus was crowned Miss Caribbean Culture in this year’s competition. She is also the current first-runner-up in the National Carnival Queen Pageant. Liburd said that with the confidence and experience that Miss Fergus gained, it was believed that she would have done well in the completion.
In regards to the reintroduction of the Soca Monarch contest, Liburd said it is something that was considered for several years, but he said that “the demise of the band-clash” presented an opportunity for its reintroduction. Although the attendance was not as high as they wished, Liburd said greater effort will be placed on the marketing of the show for next year.
“We need to build up the hype for the show and get the general public, the patrons, interested in soca. We know that soca is a big thing around the region. It is not yet so in Nevis, because calypso is still the predominant genre of music in Nevis. So, we will have to do a lot of marketing and promotion of our local soca artistes.”
Liburd said that he wants the soca competition to be a major show in next year’s competition, indicating that it has much potential.