Tropicalfete is going back into history with its Labor Day presentation of “Carnival Royalty,” according to president and founder Alton Aimable.
“With all our presentations of the past, there is a focus on education that goes along with costume building,” said Aimable in a Caribbean Life interview. “This year is no exception, as we pay attention to our ancestor’s style of costume.”
Aimable said the multicultural arts organization, which was “conceived out of the love for Caribbean culture,” will present four Children and five Adult sections in “Carnival Royalty.”
The Children’s sections are: Junior Carnival Baby, designed by Alton Aimable and Ashley Murray; Gem of the Antilles, designed by Daria Primus;
Empire, designed by Octava Narcise; and Carnival Callaloo, stilt dancers, designed by Kenwyn Gibbs and C. “Book” Dolor.
The Adult sections are: Majesty, designed by Michael Dawkins; Core of the Mas, designed by Tammie Paige; Tropical Mas, designed by Shaina Campbell; The Heart of the Carnival, designed by Alton Aimable and Kenwyn Gibbs, Sr.; and Carnival Callaloo, designed by Gibbs and Dolor.
“We are a small intimate band of about 100 masqueraders,” said Aimable, adding that masqueraders come from a wide cross section of the Caribbean and non-Caribbean communities. “Our goal is to display creativity, celebrate our heritage and have fun.”
In addition, he said Tropicalfete will present eight individual costumes this year, stating that, for the past three years, the band focused on “doing big costume pieces,” or individual characters.
Tropicalfete’s carnival queen will be Ashley Norbert, portraying Caribbean Carnival Royalty. The other characters are: Daria Primus, portraying Purity of Carnival; Keran “Fimber” Deterville, portraying Blue Devil Mas; Claudia Narcise, portraying Madame Lorraine; Tammie Paige, portraying Coral in the Mas; Caitlyn Pierre, portraying Royalty on Stilts; Octavia Narcise, portraying Empire Thrown; Keiza Sealy, portraying Elegant Princess; and Shaina Campbell, portraying Tropical Vibration.
Aimable said masqueraders in Tropicalfete, who have been participating in the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade for the past six years, can expect “professional customer service and an opportunity to play mas at a reasonable price or for free in some cases.”
He said the band has a team of volunteers, captained by Gillia Satenay, and that the members’ heritage is a cross-section of the Caribbean region “because we strongly believe there is growth in diversity.”
Aimable said costume designers, over the years, have come from, among other places, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Barbados, Antigua, Grenada, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Panama.
He said some of the senior designers, such as Gibbs and Marcus Luke, have more than 20 years of costume production.
“It is very important to the organization to partner up some of our senior designers with upcoming designers or just people who express interest,” Aimable said.
Masqueraders will move to the beat of DJs Kevin, Mad Stef, Book, Richard Button and Event Pro.
Established in 1999 as an online publication, and cultural resource center in 2011, Aimable said Tropicalfete, also a not-for-profit corporation, is focused on developing the community in the areas of arts and social services, with the aim of “educating the global community on Caribbean culture.”