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Heritage Festival opens with colour and fanfare

By Marissa Williams Tobago Bureau Sunday, July 18 2010

click on pic to zoom in
Heritage staple: There could, of course, be no Opening night production without the speech band warriors and their witty recitals....
Heritage staple: There could, of course, be no Opening night production without the speech band warriors and their witty recitals....

The Opening Gala of the 2010 Tobago Heritage Festival is being hailed as one of the most successful in years.

Despite starting one hour behind schedule due to electrical difficulties, the event opened to a full house at the Dwight Yorke Stadium car park which was transformed into a cultural village with models of the heritage symbol, water wheel, dirt oven and other symbols of the Festival completing the ambiance. Patrons were also greeted by Dame Lorraines dressed in colourful costumes complete with lace umbrellas and masks.

Producers, Onika Henry and Jared Trim, creatively incorporated traditional dance, drum, drama, song, games and all aspects of Tobago’s heritage and culture into a witty and entertaining production that sufficiently compensated for the earlier setback.

The night’s production centred around a young woman, Amanda, who returned to Tobago with her “honkie fiancé” to claim her inheritance after spending several years abroad. She, however, had to retrace the footprints of her heritage before she could actually receive the gift. Dances were used to seamlessly transport patrons between the past and present. During her journey she was also courted by two of the males within the village much to the displeasure of her fiancé who she eventually got rid of after returning to her roots.

After the show, which ended shortly after midnight, several patrons commented on how compact and entertaining it was.

“This is the first time I could remember a show this tight. We would have been out of here before midnight if the show hadn’t started late and after it started, I did not mind. It was worth the wait,” one patron told Sunday Newsday.

Committee officials told Newsday that they were pleased with the successful start which was an indication of the standard to be expected throughout the two-week Festival.

The 2010 Tobago Heritage Festival titled “Tracing Footprints” continued yesterday with the Mt St George village production, “Sugarcane Glory”.

Today, several choirs, speech bands and dance groups will vie for the top positions in the Folk Fiesta production carded for 3 pm at the Dwight Yorke Stadium car park.

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