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26320: Craig (news) CaribeFest showcases cultural diversity (fwd)
From: Dan Craig <email@example.com>
CaribeFest showcases cultural diversity
Miramar's cultural diversity showcased during CaribeFest
By Randy Abraham
Posted September 25 2005
Great music from the islands, a wide assortment of Caribbean foods and arts and
crafts, and thousands looking to party.
These were the ingredients that made this month's CaribeFest a success, event
organizers said. The third annual event, staged at Lakeshore Park in Miramar,
attracted about 6,500 visitors, said Jean Harold Limage, president of
CaribeFest Inc., the nonprofit organization that organizes the festival.
"Thanks to our sponsors and the city of Miramar, it was a much bigger and
better event than before," he said.
The goal of the event is to bring the community together and showcase the
diversity of musical styles of various island cultures.
"A lot of festivals are geared to a single ethnicity, but with the diversity
that is Caribbean culture, we want to showcase all the different musical
influences. There are some things we can learn from different cultures," said
Alexandra Davis, vice president of CaribeFest.
From the hard-driving brass instruments and danceable rhythms of the
veteran Haitian konpa performers Tabou Combo, to soca headliner Leon Cordero to
the Sofla Kingz, who perform a mix of reggae tinged with Latin-flavored hip-hop
and R&B, the entertainment lineup had festival-goers dancing all evening.
"We were fortunate to be able to present some renowned entertainers that enjoy
an international following, and we knew they would put on a great show," Davis
Angela Clark of West Park said she was looking for something to do with her
family when she saw a flier for the festival.
"We had a great time, and the kids really enjoyed this," she said. "I think
it's a great idea that the city does things like this for the community."
Festival organizers booked Tabou Combo for last year's festival, but hurricanes
postponed the event and the group could not accommodate the new schedule. The
group, established 36 years ago in Haiti, was recognized by Miramar Vice Mayor
Winston Barnes, who presented the group with a proclamation.
The occasion also marked 50 years of the Haitian musical genre konpa, Limage
said. "It was a double celebration for them, and we were very pleased they
could come this year," he said.
The New Image Steel Ensemble performed throughout the afternoon, while the
young ladies of the Bell D Dancers combined funky beats with belly dancing.
Face painters, contests and arcade-style games entertained the kids.
However, festival organizers saved the best for last, as Grammy-nominated
reggae sensation Maxi Priest took the stage at 9:30 p.m., getting the crowd
going with his hits /To the Max/, /All My Love/ and /Close to You/.
Amid the lines of vendors selling food, drinks and souvenirs, a blood van was
taking donations for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
That sight gave Elias Henry, who recently moved to Miramar, reason for pause.
"I just moved from New Orleans, and I left behind a lot of friends that I am
worrying about now," he said. "I decided today I just needed to get to a party,
so I'm looking forward to hearing Maxi Priest."
Limage said he hopes the festival helps unify the community.
"When we created this festival, the feeling was that there was a perception the
city was divided between east and west," he said. "Culture has always been a
unifying influence, and at the CaribeFest, we found every sector and segment of