By Stephen Weir
I don’t know anything about Ryan Oldham (aka Farmer) aside from the fact that he dances worse than I (and I am the undisputed King of the Misstep). But in the wee hours of Sunday morning, his dancing stole the show at Epic Carnival’s Scarborough costume launch.
It was 1.30 a.m. and there were 500 people inside Hall C of the Chandni Grand Banquet Hall. The last of the night’s 10 sections – Myth of the Sea – was on stage and Raesha Sirois, the former Face of the Toronto Carnival was the very last model. She was wearing a striking ultra frontline lime green mermaid costume, complete with fishnet stockings, fish scales in her facial makeup, shells in her headpiece and white and orange feathers.
All of the cameras and smart phones were recording her every move- until Farmer started to bang his triton on the floor and wildly tap his feet.
Suddenly, the six footer did the splits followed by a 360 degree cartwheel. He landed upright and starting making moves more akin to square dancing than soca. The model broke up laughing, stopped moving and let the merman “buss-a-move.” The crowd went wild. If everyone wasn’t already standing already, the part-time hockey goalie would have gotten a Standing O.
“He’s the prime example of you (pointing at this writer!) …. YOLO (You Only Live Once)” one audience member told me. “Bring him back for the King and Queen he deserves an encore!”
Exuberance won over talent at the weekend launch billed as Epic Fantasies. Epic Carnival has not only changed its name (formerly Durham Mas’) but also the formula for Toronto mas’ costume launches. This was a fashion show modeled by men and women of all body types from a Triple X down to Sub Zero. Many of the costumes left nothing much to the imagination while others were fashionably modest.
Want to dress like a naughty unicorn pony? The ten sections have adopted wacky fantasy themes ranging from Guardian of the Glaciers to Rebel Unicorn. And, as Farmer showed, EPIC is aimed at revellers who want to have fun when they play mas’ this summer, even when they have two left feet.
“ It was a strong launch,” said Epic Carnival’s manager Jerrol Augustine
“Next event for us is the opening of the mas’ camp at 730 Military Trail in Scarborough. We’re going to be holding a grand opening the beginning of May.”