Excitement is building for the return of the Labor Day carnival on Eastern Parkway on Sept. 5, while Suga Candy Mas band leader Maxine Magdaleno, works around the clock to put on the final touches to dazzle judges and spectators alike, at the first in-person celebration after a two-year pause.
Magdaleno, a versed costume designer who traces her roots to Belize, recently did a thrilling display at an Avenue M tarmac in Brooklyn on July 19 masquerading to spirited carnival music in a revealing bejeweled creation from Ambrosia — one of the five sections of the Suga Candy Mas. The pieces are designed with feathers, rhinestone, and sequins, and accessorized with bellowing headpieces to capture the band’s Jungle Fever theme.
She said the band will explore everything the jungle has to offer, portraying facets including the ocean, trees, plants, flowers, while incorporating the brilliant and colorful elements of the Caribbean.
“After two years we’ll be back on the road, and ready for Labor Day. It’s been long enough. Over the pandemic, I’ve been practicing my craft, networking, and trying to do everything I can do to make Labor Day better again, and to make it just as exciting as it was years ago,” said Magdaleno, a past costume band winner, who will vie in the big band category with front, middle, and back lines, featuring over 300 masqueraders.
“We will be doing everything we have been doing over the years, and even bigger and better,” she said, with hopes of expanding the sections in 2023.
And like some band leaders, who commission designers to create sections, Suga Candy Mas, sought the creative energy of a two-woman team under the Carib Colors brand name.
The band leader, who began designing costumes at a very young age, and had noted in a past interview that carnival runs through her veins, invited Carib Colors to produce the section, inspired by the jungle, hence the vivid concept that has been incorporated in carnivals in Grenada, Miami, and will for the first time, hypnotize the Labor Day carnival in Brooklyn.
The Trinidad and Grenadian Carib Colors team, who said they love carnival, was inspired by 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖢𝖺𝗆𝖻𝗈𝖽𝗂𝖺 𝗃𝗎𝗇𝗀𝗅𝖾 𝗊𝗎𝖾𝖾𝗇 b𝗎𝗍𝗍𝖾𝗋𝖿𝗅𝗒, which is the 𝗇𝖾𝖼𝗍𝖺𝗋 𝗈𝖿 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖦𝗈𝖽𝗌 𝖮𝗋𝖼𝗁𝗂𝖽 𝖡𝖾𝖾, g𝗂𝗏𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗅𝗂𝖿𝖾 𝖾𝗇𝖾𝗋𝗀𝗒 𝗐𝗁𝗂𝗅𝖾 𝖼𝗋𝖾𝖺𝗍𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗌𝗎𝖼𝖼𝗎𝗅𝖾𝗇𝗍 𝗌𝗎𝗌𝗍𝖾𝗇𝖺𝗇𝖼𝖾. T𝗁𝖾 𝖡𝗎𝗍𝗍𝖾𝗋𝖿𝗅𝗒 𝖰𝗎𝖾𝖾𝗇 𝗋𝖾𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗌𝖾𝗇𝗍𝗌 𝗁𝖾𝗋 𝖻𝖾𝖺𝗎𝗍𝗒 𝖻𝗒 𝗇𝖺𝗍𝗎𝗋𝖾 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖡𝖾𝖾 𝗋𝖾𝗉𝗋𝖾𝗌𝖾𝗇𝗍 𝗁𝖾𝗋 s𝗍𝗋𝖾𝗇𝗀𝗍𝗁, they said.
They noted that the design was well thought out “with the conceptual aspect of this section to bring it alive. We saw it played out in our own backyard, living in New York with the garment district right around the corner. We used our environment, working with local manufacturers to produce the costumes,” they said.
Magdalino described the exquisite creations as being moderately priced, from $300 to $1000 depending on the intricacies of the design, and craftsmanship. Masqueraders also have the style options of 𝖬𝗈𝗇𝗈𝗄𝗂𝗇𝗂 𝖡𝗈𝖽𝗒 𝖶𝖾𝖺𝗋, and 𝖴𝗅𝗍𝗋𝖺 𝖡𝗈𝖽𝗒 𝖶𝖾𝖺𝗋 to choose from.
Suga Candy Mas is a multicultural organization with a foundation built on solidarity, dexterity, and cultural discernment since 2015. Suga Candy Mas prides itself on providing the ultimate carnival experience to over 1000 masqueraders each time the band takes part in New York’s annual West Indian American Day Carnival.
The mas camp, located at Precise Event Space, 1346 Utica Ave., Brooklyn, is open for registration with a payment plan in place. Masqueraders are encouraged to use money transfer platforms, Zelle, and Cash App as an option.