After a hiatus of two years, caused by the deadly COVID-19 virus, which ended the lives of over 150 Grenadians living in the New York, Connecticut and New Jersey area and that of over 200 persons back in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, the much missed Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique Day is back with the whole shebang.
This year, the event which will be held on Sunday, Aug. 21, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the usual Old Boys and Girls High School Field, located at 777 Rutland Rd. in Brooklyn, is dedicated to the celebration of life and giving thanks to all of the hardworking frontline workers of Grenadian and other Caribbean origins.
As the founding president and chairperson, Michael Vincent, of the not-for-profit event-planning entity, Grenada Cultural Festival Group, Inc. (GCFG), explains: this year’s “…overall theme is really about being thankful to have survived the pandemic and for having the opportunity once again to bring people together.”
The Day’s Highlights
To demonstrate the theme of the event, there will be a make-shift shrine at the venue, where people can go offer their prayers and write the names of their loved ones that were taken by COVID-19.
In addition to this special feature of tribute and remembrance, the event will include it’s well-established hallmarks — a colorful array of on-stage cultural performances, interactive traditional activities and booths which celebrate, showcase and trade the tri-island state’s foods, beverages (minus the best Caribbean rums), arts and crafts, dance, music, heritage and professional service providers.
The day’s slate of cultural acts would include performances by: soca artistes Tallpree, Skinny Banton, Mr. Legs & His Band, Alma Boy Kirton Roberts and a surprise act; along with R&B artiste Sabi Pitt.
There will also be dance presentations by JAN’S Dance Group, Chinadoll’s Dance Group and a troupe of Limbo Dancers; as well as depictions of mas from Grenz United Mas Band and Jab Jab Family Band — all live on stage.
Attendees of the event will also get to hear and see a message from the Prime Minister of Grenada, Dickon Mitchell, as well as encounter in-person appearances by local elected officials — NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Congresswoman Yvette Clark, NYC Councilwoman Rita Joseph and NY State Senator Roxanne Pursaud.
The Order Of The Day’s Activities
The day will begin with a mini-parade of first responders from the corner of Utica Avenue and Rutland Road. This exercise will be led by a musical accompaniment of brass and drums. Among the brass players would be the Ex-Leader of the Royal Grenada Police Force Band, Brian Hurst, who will also be performing live at the event, along with groups and individuals of various art-forms.
After the parade enters the park a mini-service will begin. This part of the celebration will be directed by GCFG member and retired school principal, Rudolph Cyrus. Among the presiding clergy would be Rev. Wesly Daniel, Rev. Ijeal Joseph and others representing various religious denominations.
Following the religious exercise and ahead of the on-stage activities which will feature the various participating artistes, dancers and mas bands, the National Anthem of the United States of America will be sung by recording artiste and registered nurse, Cheryl Vincent, while the Anthem of Grenada will be done instrumentally by Brian Hurst and Rawl Lewis.
In addition to the cultural acts mentioned above, the following are expected to make appearances as well: the Carriacou Cultural Train String Band, Shortknee and Moko Jumbie masqueraders.
Ballooning and face painting would also be available for the children in attendance.
Community Interest & Event Background
Based on stirrings on the ground in areas frequented by Grenadians in central Brooklyn, it is evident that Grenadians and friends of Grenada are looking forward to the activities that are scheduled for Sunday — a concept-event, in the vein of what was initially celebrated in Brooklyn right after a similar one that was first held in Toronto.
The first massive celebration of Grenadian heritage and culture in New York City, “Grenada Day”, came in 2009, executed under the auspices of an earlier-established umbrella organization known as GRENCAP, involving among others, some of the current leaders of GCFG, who had worked on that initial event, on following ones, and then went on to establish a separate organization known as the Grenada Cultural Festival Group, Inc., which is responsible for Sunday’s event.
On a historical note: the first such event in Brooklyn was held one year into the 2008 to 2013 term of the prior NDC-led Administration in Grenada, which pioneered the establishment of Grenada’s Office of Diaspora Affairs and was fully involved in the planning and execution of the themed heritage event.
As aptly summarized by GCFG Board Member and event co-organizer, Nathifa Lewis, “Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique Day, this year, is both a nostalgic celebration of a return to a new normal with elements of the past and a symbolic and sentimental memorial to those who have transitioned since our last edition.”
The sponsors of this year’s Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique Day celebrations are Ariza Credit Union, La Baye Market, MCG Café, Caribbean Funeral Home, Hosten Funeral Service and Apple Bank.