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Sep 5, 2017

The Mas Begins

With the Carnival King and Queen 2017 determined on Saturday night, the mas camps got underway on Monday night in the north and south sides of the city. The bands are getting ready for this weekend’s road march and gave us a peak look at what can be expected. While judging is on originality and creativity, one band is throwing in the famous conch soup. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The competition to determine the 2017 Carnival Road March champions began on Monday night as two of the fourteen competing mas bands gave the judges a preview of what’s to come on September ninth when they take to the streets of Belize City. Day one of the mas camp took us to Trenchtown Masqueraders junior band and one of the highly anticipated senior bands, Mother Nature’s Creation. There are a total of two hundred points split between mas camp and the road march and the camp visits account for eighty of those points.


Sandra Mahler

Sandra Mahler, President, Carnival Association

“We are starting the mas camps today; we have juniors and seniors that we are going to. The judges will be judging them based on their artistic quality, the appearance, the durability of the costume, color coordination, appearance, and originality. We have four days of mas camps; from today until Thursday. We start at seven everyday and these judges are going to see much better creativity and originality in these costumes this year. Every year we try to encourage the band leaders to do better than what they did before and this year they have certainly done that, so that is what we are going to see on mas camps this week.”


While the two bands we visited had several revelers dressed in their respective costumes, it is not mandatory. Carnival Association President Sandra Mahler says that there is no need for a human prop or a mannequin, but the bands must demonstrate the pieces from start to finish.


Our first stop for the night was over on Amara Avenue where juniors, Trenchtown Masqueraders were energized and ready for the road march. Their theme this year was inspired by the tragedy that struck their band leader, Patricia Flowers earlier this year. She explains how she converted her reality into fantasy.


Patricia Flowers

Patricia Flowers, Band Leader, Trenchtown Masqueraders

“My story had to be removed from fantasy to when reality kicks in. My theme is when reality hits unexpectedly being that I went through a disaster on July eighth so I based my story on myself and what I’ve been going through, which is me being a princess, enjoying music when I was called home to fire. And my last section is just based on trying to get back on my feet, color, happiness. Our first section is the princess…that’s me Patricia Flowers – crazy as ever, looking crazy always on camp night. I mean everybody know I like music, everybody know I peaceful until yeah yo push me up there. But that’s me the first section. It is followed by the music that I was enjoying…to the third section, the fire that called me home that left me with the skeleton, being the frame of my house. And then I have the color to the back which is yellow and green given to me by one of my next band leaders. And I have to say big thank you to Miss Marina Welcome.”


Over on Saint Thomas Street, Mother Nature’s Creation is cooking up a storm with his theme, “A Belizean Delicacy: Conch Soup.” And yes, with all the trappings, including conch, okra and the other vegetables are in the mix up. Creative Director for the band, Leroy Green explains:


Leroy Green

Leroy Green, Creative Director, Mother Nature’s Creation

“I always keep in mind that the theme of Mother Nature is history, culture and fantasy through carnival; so we always try to bring something to the streets that the Belizean public can relate to them because I don’t see any sense in bringing out anything to do with Rome or another place when Belizeans don’t know where Rome is. So we always try to bring out something that has to do with Belize. So that as soon as they hear it, they can say, yes that’s a part of us. The queen conch which was worn by Whitney is Queen Crustasea and in the story she was brought up from the waters around the barrier reef by prayers from the high priestess; you have to understand that this is a myth with elements of the fable. Whitney came from beneath the sea and she brought hundreds of conch along with her so that the fishermen did not have to dive. The king he was sent from the skies; the high priest of the skies prayed to the heavens to send them something to give them back their strength. He answered by sending rain, but not water rain – hundred and thousands of little black seeds which are the okra seeds and those became the okra plant which when they were ripened were used to make the conch soup. The third group will be led by another queen; I cannot remember the name right now, but each and every single dancer in that group will be wearing a different color with a backpack. They will be representing the pepper, the tomato, the potato, the onion that all goes together to make this conch soup.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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