Though rain initially threatened to dampen the festivities, the traditional Mashramani weather of bright sunshine eventually prevailed and Guyanese faithfully trudged out of their homes to enjoy the day.
The Mashramani route was a sea of colours – not just clothing but also races. All the races were represented yesterday and even a few not indigenous to Guyana were represented in the form of tourists.
These tourists would either stop every few feet and snap photos of the excitement or would shake along to the pounding music.
Even before noon, people could be seen setting up camp along Church Street to catch the first glimpses of this year’s costumes. In fact, some business persons had begun setting up tents as early as Sunday afternoon in preparation for the huge crowds that will flock their businesses.
One woman told Kaieteur News that she had been out and ready to celebrate with her three children since abo ut 10am. She added that though the novelty of the celebrations had worn off, for her it was still very much alive for her young children.
Indeed, many youngsters were seen along the Mash Route with their parents. They were also the most vocal of the onlookers, crying out in excitement as particularly interesting floats passed by.
“Daddy, look!” one boy excitedly called out as bedazzled dancers sashayed past. A few feet away from him, a little girl shimmied along on the sideline as she rapidly waved a Golden Arrowhead in her tiny fist.
Along Church Street it was clearly the more family-friendly zone. Here, persons were settling in for the day, stretched out on their blankets with their families. Some also sought shelter under their tents brought from home.
However, the family zone mostly ended as Vlissingen Road began. Here, the onlookers were mostly adults and instead of sitting around on blankets or under tents, these persons were on their feet and fully energized.
These revelers also gave the band participants a run for their money when it came to the best dance moves; they gyrated and expertly wined and even those who were not as coordinated seemed to be having a great time.
Though those on the streets were having a great time, the participants on the floats and Mash bands seemed to be having just as much fun.
In some cases, participants would literally rock their trucks. Wining also seemed to be the order of the day and strangers quickly became friends as the soca songs progressively blared.
Even as revelers tramped along, the smell of food filled the air. Barbeque seemed to be the most popular choice and every few feet persons could be seen in front of their grills, expertly flipping over meat as patrons stood by impatiently.
Interestingly, local soca songs were noticeably absent. Instead, songs by musicians such as Machel Montano were the prime choices. Some R&B songs were also being played.
Further, the crowds were not as huge as some previous years. Nonetheless, all of those present seemed to be having an enjoyable time.
The Mashramani route ended at the National Park where participating floats were judged by a panel on their creativity and success in wowing the Guyanese audience. Over 30 floats had been expected to participate in the Mashramani Parade.