Monday, July 05, 2004

31st Carifiesta Prade in Montréal
● Hard to believe, but the Carifiesta parade that we saw last Saturday in Montréal was the 31st anniversary of this parade. That makes this event even older than Jazz Festival. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information available about the parade on the internet. The following was the most interesting that I found, it also gives a small history about the parade:

 July 3, 2004
As Montreal finally heats up just in time for festival season, the familiar colours and rhythms of Carifiesta are just around the corner. Although this diverse cultural celebration takes over the city for a few days every summer, many people don't know that this year marks the 31st anniversary of the Carifiesta parade in Montreal. The event annually unites all corners of the city's Caribbean community, as well as the participation of numerous other cultural groups, making it one of the summer's most anticipated happenings.

The parade, which started back in 1974, was originally called Carifête. After a violent incident in 1993, involving a member of a Montreal-North Haitian gang called the Bo-Gars, the next year's parade didn't even happen. This random, unrelated occurrence, coupled with some shots fired at Parc Lafontaine during 1990's celebration, single-handedly crippled the credibility of previous Carifête organizers to conduct a peaceful event, resulting in its subsequent cancellation in 1994. In 1995, some new organizers, the Caribbean Cultural Festivities Association, re-invented the parade as Carifiesta and pretty much take care of making it all happen to this day.

This is a fun parade - the only possible competitor is the gay parade - people dance in the streets and the songs are great - and very loud. We have not missed any but one since we have been in Montréal. Among the ones that I have seen, this year's parade was the biggest one. We took a lot of photos; I will post some of them tonight.

Found a useful link about Carifiesta; check out what The Mirror wrote about Carifiesta. I also found this on The Hour. These are all new articales about this year's Carafiesta. Last week I could not find anything about this event.