Antigua’s Carnival full of festive spirit

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – This year’s Antigua and Barbuda Carnival was the most successful in the 49 year history of the summer festival.

Neil Cochrane, Chairman of the Antigua Carnival Development Committee, said this year’s festival, dubbed the “Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival – Keeping the Wadadli Spirit Alive” saw record numbers of patrons attending all of the events, registering a 10 percent increase over 2004.

He said the island was choc-o-block with visitors from the Caribbean and the traditional markets of North America and Europe, and attributed the full house to the destination’s new partnership with Black Entertainment Television network which heavily promoted the festival with thirty-second spots running on BET and BET Jazz from February to July this year. In addition, value-added promotional billboards and other offers, helped brand the destination for BET’s Caribbean and international subscribers.

The carnival chief said the alliance with the network continues beyond the carnival season as the production crew which covered the festivities is also making a 20 minute feature on Antigua and its Carnival to run on BET and BET Jazz from the Fall through the Spring of 2006.

“We are serious about the Caribbean and our festivals,” commented St. Lucia’s Cybelle Brown, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for BET Digital Networks as she congratulated the Carnival Development Committee for the innovations they brought to this year’s celebration. “The opening day parade presented extraordinary creative talent, and some of the most beautiful floats I have ever seen in any Caribbean Carnival. We are very excited about presenting this colorful festival on television,” said Brown, who also tipped her hat to the various carnival winners.

Queen Ivena, for the fifth consecutive year, captured the Female Calypso Monarch competition, and then proceeded to three-peat in the Calypso Monarch event. Last weekend she returned from Anguilla where she copped the Leeward Islands Calypso Monarch competition.

The Road March category in Antigua went to the Burning Flames with “The Harder They Come”, as the 22 year-old musical group paid tribute to their late lead singer Onika Bostik who died tragically in Trinidad last year.

Claudette “CP” Peters took full glory in the Party Monarch competition which set St. John’s ablaze this carnival season.

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