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Tobago Heritage Festival Celebrating the Journey. We Come From Far

By NEWSDAY staff Friday, July 15 2011

click on pic to zoom in
Dancers take part in the depiction of the traditional Tobago wedding ceremony in Moriah Village....
Dancers take part in the depiction of the traditional Tobago wedding ceremony in Moriah Village....

This weekend Tobago will be a beehive of activity as visitors from all over the world will experience Tobago’s customs and cultural traditions when the annual Tobago Heritage Festival gets underway.

Celebrating its 25th year with the theme “Celebrating the Journey: We come from Far”, a gala opening of the 2011 edition of the Festival is planned for tonight at the Dwight Yorke Stadium Car Park, Tobago starting at 8 pm.

Speaking at the recent launch of the Heritage Festival, Lois Leslie, Tobago House of Assembly Chair person said the Tobago Heritage Festival is all about the retention of our cultural values and mores that are the moorings for the healthy individual self; the pre-requisite for a healthy local Tobago community. He noted, “The advancement of our Tobago society is firmly rooted in our human resources and cultural heritage; our most significant assets.

“And so each year we embark on this explosive cultural pilgrimage, placing on stage and in the streets the beauty, the majesty, the pride that is ours as a Tobagonian people; and we invite the rest of our nation, the Caribbean and the world to experience the magic of our Heritage,” Leslie said.

Leslie said the Tobago Heritage Festival has become more than a festival; it is now an institution in its own right. “We at the Tobago Festivals Commission are focused on charting new direction for our festivals and cultural entrepreneurship in Tobago; a course that seeks to inject a more structured, organised and business approach to a burgeoning Tobago festival environment in a challenged and changing global Tourism market,” Leslie said.

The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) has committed $6.3M to the event, while there are 11 corporate sponsors for the 18-day festival which will run through to Emancipation Day on August 1.

The opening will be followed by the Heritage Calypso Monarch and Pan Folk-o-Rama at the Milford Road Esplanade at 8 pm tomorrow at which ten calypsonians will battle for top honours.

Ah We Own Massa will be presented at the Whim Hard Court on Monday at 8 pm and Canaan/Bon Accord/Crown Point will host It Takes a Whole Village To Raise a Child – Part IV at Store Bay on July 20 at 8 pm. Black Rock will host the Sea Festival and Boat Christening at the Courland Heritage Park from 5 am and the Heritage Food Fair and Heritage Market will be held at the Garden Side car park between 11 am and 5 pm. One of the highlights of the festival will be the Ms Heritage Personality at the Cyd Gray Sporting Complex, Roxborough, on July 22 at 8 pm. The famous Moriah Ole Time Tobago Wedding will be held from 1 pm on July 23.

Games We Used To Play will be staged by Mason Hall and Natural Treasures Day will be hosted by Charlotteville on July 25. The traditional Salaka Feast will be held at the new Pembroke Heritage Park on July 27.

Les Coteaux’s “Folk tales and superstitions” will be held on July 28 while the Heritage Island Tour will be held the same day from the Milford Road Esplanade, starting at 8 am. The Junior Heritage Festival will be held at the Pembroke Heritage Park from 10 am the day after. Plymouth/Bethesda will stage Ole Time Carnival at the Plymouth Recreation Ground on July 30. One of the new features of the festival is the Drum Festival and Goat Races at the Buccoo Integrated Facility on July 31.

The final day on August 1 will be the Emancipation Day parade from Bon Accord to the Pigeon Point Heritage Park from 11 am.

Here is the Tobago Heritage Festival itinerary:

July 15: Opening Night, Dwight Yorke Stadium Car Park – 8 pm

July 16: Mouth Open, Tory Jump Out, S/boro Esplanade – 8 pm

July 17: Folk Fiesta, Cyd Gray Complex Roxborough – 8 pm

July18: SWUM “Ah We Own Massa,” Whim Hard Court – 8 pm

July 20: Canaan/Bon Accord/Crown Point/Store Bay – 6 am

July 21: Black Rock Sea Festival and Boat Christening, Courland Heritage Park – 5 am

July 22: Heritage Food Fair and Heritage Market, Garden Side Street Car Park – 11 am - 5 pm

July 22: Ms Heritage Personality, Cyd Gray Complex Roxborough – 8 pm

July 23: Moriah “Ole Time Tobago Wedding” Ceremony, Moriah Moravian Church Hall – 1 pm

July 23: Cake and Wine, Moriah Community Centre – 2 pm

July 23: Reception Moriah Recreation Ground – 3 pm

July 24: Mason Hall “Games We Used To Play,” Mason Hall Recreation Ground – 6 am

July 25: Charlotteville “Natural Treasures Day,” Charlotteville Recreation Ground – 10 am

July 27: Pembroke “Salaka Feast,” Pembroke Heritage Park – 5 am

July 28: Les Coteaux “Folk Tales and Superstitions,” Les Coteaux Community Centre – 6 am to 2 pm

July 28: Stage Production – “Unfair Games Hah Fuh Play Twice,” Tablepiece Recreation Ground – 8 pm

July 29: Heritage Island Tour, S/boro Esplanade – 8 am

July 29: Junior Heritage Festival, Pembroke Heritage Park – 10 am

July 30: Plymouth/Bethesda “Ole Time Carnival,” Plymouth Recreation Ground – 5 am

July 31: Drum Festival/Goat Races Buccoo Integrated Facility – 10 am

August 1: Emancipation Day Celebration Bon Accord to Pigeon Point Heritage Park – 11 am

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