CARNIVAL IN SAN DIEGO
The San Diego West Coast Multicultural Carnival & Festival at San Diego’s SDCCU was great fun. Carnival day was Aug 11th. The Festival included an All White Party on the day before, a Carnival after party on Sat night, and the day after events on Sunday. The San Diego Caribbean Association has brought together diverse elements of San Diego’s community to celebrate a Caribbean style carnival. The 2nd annual event is newly becoming a favorite of locals and tourists alike.
The advertising for this event piqued my interest when I read” All are invited, all ages, every race and culture! Hispanics, Whites, Filipinos, Chinese, Blacks, Indian and Asians.”
I had to see who showed up! I was not disappointed in that a diverse mix of folks with a hankering to hang out Caribbean Carnival style was found dancing, enjoying the food and did I say dancing? There was an over 21 area where you could have a carnival drink after donating to the San Diego Caribbean Association, Inc. (SDCA). They describe themselves as a community-based organization that promotes multi-culturalism through educational programs and charitable related events. I noticed among programs for senior and community engagement a program that does outreach to the homeless I thought that was worth 10 bucks and I got a rum drink! Win win
Walking about before nightfall we saw several flavorful offerings. I saw food booths and food trucks from Ice cream to Jamaican jerked chicken to The Pad Thai Stand booth I stopped at. The owner Nat was very enthusiastic in telling me about the different ways Pad Thai (a street food) is made in different parts of Thailand while the cook demonstrated the making of the sauce one ingredient at a time! I don’t get that with street food everyday also very tasty. Noel’s cookies were among the vendors we passed by after our history lesson and a great taste after some savory bites. 3 cookies (peanut butter chocolate chip, Almond Butter chocolate chip, and oatmeal chocolate chip) were purchased because I knew I could not have just one and lucky for me camera man Pete didn’t want any so I hoarded all 3 which I kept safely in my stomach.
We watched several Mas Bands entrants. They are defined on the website as parade options first option is “Mas Band defined as a group of masqueraders in costume and or coordinating T-Shirts. Most bands are usually lead by a truck with a DJ or sound system on it, as they are on the road during the parade.
The second parade option if you don’t belong to a band is Masquerader defined as an Individual who joins an existing Mas Band
I watched the “Bands” that paraded down the center and in front of the stage throughout the day. If you weren’t eating you were in front of the stage or watching a Band parade in front of you. There were some rides in the corner for kids but I did not investigate those as my attention was well occupied and I had to keep those cookies safe.
When asked about the challenges of creating an event like this the organizer Elton Cumberbatch presently active with the Navy in San Diego said “Each year has brought its own challenges as long as we can unite the community that is our mission “Respect and Unity” to show love for the community is something my mother taught me” the best part of the Carnival? “Is seeing all the different types of people getting along which is one of our core values” I am looking forward to next years.
By Mike Caro
Photos by Peter Wong