Mas bands vie for King & Queen crown at showcase this Thursday

Mischka Crichton

On Thursday August 3rd, the King & Queen Showcase will take place at Lamport Stadium, 1155 King Street West, from 5 pm to 12 am.

“‘This night showcasing Caribbean royalty is a staple event leading up to the Grand Parade that takes place on Saturday and features Carnival competitors in the most dazzling of costumes,” said Jennifer Hirlehey, Chair of the Festival Management Committee, producers of Toronto Caribbean Carnival. “It’s a great evening of cultural celebration and a chance for the bands to showcase their creativity, craftsmanship and cultural pride.”

Over 50 participants compete for various titles by performing on stage through dance, music, and theatrical elements. The costumes are designed to reflect the carnival’s theme and relate to Caribbean culture, history, mythology, and current social issues. They are all handmade and, on average, take months to craft carefully with a team of people.

“It’s a joy to see what the bands create every year and how they express themselves creatively,” observed Mischka Crichton, CEO, Festival Management Committee, who has also competed previously in the showcase. “Each year the costumes become bigger and more elaborate, incorporating intricate details that captures the audience’s attention.”

The King & Queen showcase determines who will be in the title role for the Grand Parade, which takes place on Saturday, August 5th, along the Lakeshore Blvd W & at Exhibition Place.

This year is the 56th anniversary of the Grand Parade, which was first gifted to Canada by the Caribbean Community during Canada’s centennial celebrations.

Carnival queen

This Caribbean tradition of parading through the street was founded in celebration of freedom and emancipation from slavery and is appropriately marked on what has been recognized by the Canadian government as Emancipation Day weekend.