Organizers of the annual, grand Vincy Day USA picnic, at Heckscher State Park in East Islip, Long Is., have cancelled the extravaganza for the second successive year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As New York State is gradually emerging from the grips of COVID-19 corona virus and gradually returning to a level of normalcy, there’s been inquiry as to whether there will be a Vincy Day Family Fun Day for 2021,” Raymond O. “Otis” Lewis, chairman of the Brooklyn-based Vincy Day USA, Inc., told Caribbean Life on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, that will not be possible for this year,” he added. “There are many logistical challenges that are associated with Vincy Day; and, given the short time that may be available when COVID restrictions are lifted and the date our family fun day is scheduled, the odds will be insurmountable.
“With that being said, we are eagerly anticipating that 2022 will see us free, clear and ready to celebrate what will be the 10th Anniversary of Vincy Day Family Fun Day,” Lewis continued.
For this year, he said his organization is instead hosting a Vincy Day USA Food Sale BBQ, on Aug. 21, from 3:00 pm, at Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center, 668 Logan St., Brooklyn, NY 11208.
In August 2019, for the eight successive year, thousands of Vincentians from all walks of life — trekking from as far as Toronto in Canada, Miami in Florida, and even from the homeland — converged on Heckscher State Park for another “epic” picnic.
Busloads and carloads of Vincentian and other Caribbean nationals made the annual pilgrimage to feast, drink, “ole talk”, renew acquaintances and friendships, dance and have just plain fun at the event described by organizers as “another epic year.”
“From all reports from the patrons in attendance, it was another great family fun day,” Lewis, the newly-elected chairman of the Brooklyn-based Vincy Day USA, Inc. Committee told Caribbean Life then. “Every year, we try to gauge our attendance, and it’s proving more and more difficult by the sheer number of persons in attendance and vehicles parked in the lots.”
“This year proved to be another epic year with it being one of the biggest crowds we’ve had at Heckscher State Park,” added the Brooklyn resident, declining to estimate the crowd. Many picnic-goers, however, said it was well over 10,000.
“Everyone I encountered was very happy and supportive, and conveyed their best wishes and support for continued success and longevity for Vincy Day Family Fun Day,” continued Lewis, who said he also spent “quite a bit of time” with park and law enforcement officials “to ensure that we were in good standing and not facing any issues.
“Their response was nothing more than glowing reviews for Vincy Day and the patrons who attended,” he said. “That, in itself, is what makes having this family fun day such a worthwhile venture. It makes me a proud Vincentian to hear our people spoken of with so much admiration.”
At each Vincy Day, several Vincentian gospel, soca, calypso and reggae artistes entertain the massive crowd.
During Vincy Day 2019, gospel artistes included evangelists Bridgette Blucher and LaFleur Durrant, Esworth Quammie, Brigo and the Hills family.
Among the soca, calypso and reggae artistes were former calypso monarch D Man Age; Dennis Bowman; Field Marshall; Hilford Hurst; Hibuscus; Curtis C; and Fimba, the 2018 Road March winner in Vincy Mas, who brought down the house with his signature “Mind Yo Funky Business.”