Regina celebrates CariSask

cari 3Carnival revellers took to the streets of Regina on Saturday for the 10th annual CariSask parade put on by the Saskatchewan Caribbean Canadian Association (SCCA).

CariSask which is modelled after the Trinidad carnival, brought together people from various parts of the Caribbean community in the province of Saskatchewan.

A large flatbed truck covered in the  flags of various Caribean countries drove down Albert Street from 13th Avenue to the Legislative building, blasting soca music.

Following close behind, adults and children danced through the streets, dressed up in feathers and beads and in colours representing various Caribbean islands.

cari 1“If we can’t get to the islands we’re bringing the islands to them,” laughed parade coordinator Rumatu Denise Abubakar.

SCCA founding member Rudy Small wanted to show off island spirit in Regina when they started putting on the festival 10 years ago.

“You get together in unity and strength,” he said. “We’re all human and this life is only short. So enjoy it.”

The festival has gotten bigger every year according to Small. The infectious rhythms of Caribbean music drew crowds of onlookers on the sidewalk along Albert Street who were taking pictures of the parade and trying some dance moves as well.

“Whether you can dance or not, you can still shake,” joked Maxine Creightney. The former vice-president of the SCCA danced in the parade, dressed in the green, black and yellows of her home country, Jamaica.

Untitled-16The only drawback of having the island celebration in Regina is the lack of a beach, she joked.

According to  Abubakar, the festival gives the proud expats an opportunity to dance and party, as they did in their home countries and  also to share their culture with others.

“There’s so many different ethnicities in this city and I think it’s kind of interesting to know and to learn and to understand one another,” she said.

Lesley Rante dressed up for the parade in bright purple, red and white feather wings and a beaded headdress.

She’s been celebrating CariSask every year it’s been put on, even though she’s from the Phillippines.

“It’s a lively culture, it’s a fun culture to be with,” she said. This year she brought her nephew along to experience a slice of Caribbean life.

When the parade reached its destination at the Legislative building there was more music, dancing, and a taste of the popular foods of the region such as jerk chicken, roti and patties.