By Stephen Weir
The stars glittering above were most certainly aligned. There will never be a Caribana King and Queen Competition as good as what happened last Thursday night at Lamport Stadium.
A stadium filled to capacity with hard-core fans of the carnival arts. Drama. Pageantry. And, two big surprises at the podium.
According to Weather Canada, when the gates opened at the downtown soccer stadium, it was a sunny cloudless 25 degrees Celsius. When the contest ended just before midnight it was 20 degrees Celsius – just the right temperature to cool down an estimated audience of 10,000 as they streamed out of Lamport.
What set the stands all atwitter was the news that crowd favourite and reigning queen Celena Seusahai had been dethroned. Seusahai, the driving force behind Tribal Carnival was expected to take the title with her strong performance on stage. It was not to be, the judges choose Toronto Revellers’ Nicole Brand as this year’s Queen. She wore Virginia, the Queen of Treasure Island designed by Arnold Hughes.
The winning King costume was designed and worn by Nicholas Guy. He took the crown for Louis Saldenah’s Mas K Camp.
It was a two-sided costume that depicted the final battle of angels and demons, where good triumphs over evil. Guy costume also captured the coveted annual Innovation in Mas’ Award.
The prize was established in 2010 to recognize innovative carnival costume design. The Award honours the designer, whose creation best demonstrates the principles and practices of engineering innovation, including risk-taking, problem solving and collaboration. The judging criteria also consider the creative use of materials and a commitment to the advancement of this unique craft for future generations.
“This year’s competition was extremely tight, with intricate and complex costumes from seasoned designers,” said Science Centre judge Walter Stoddard. “As a first-time designer, Nicholas Guy’s design particularly stood out to the jury for its risk-taking in materials and mechanics, and Guy’s collaborative approach to addressing and resolving challenges, which allowed him and the Louis Saldenah Mas K Club to achieve their joint vision.”
The Innovation in Mas’ Award remains at Louis Saldenah Mas K Club camp until the Science Centre’s Community Day celebrations on September 28 and 29, 2019, when Guy will receive a commemorative copy of the trophy for permanent ownership.