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Crop Over 2023 to open in grand style at St Peter factory

Crop Over 2023 will officially turn up the heat with the Digicel Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes and Vintage Tent at an exciting new location on Saturday, July 1.

The historic former sugar factory at Hayman’s, St Peter, off the Ronald Mapp Highway, with its spectacular view of the West Coast and wonderfully preserved factory machinery, has been chosen by the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) for the festival’s grand launch.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley will be present to officially declare the launch of Crop Over 2023, while the evening closes out with the highly-anticipated Vintage Calypso Tent.

Chief Cultural Officer at the NCF Andrea Wells said the NCF is pulling out all the stops to produce a top-notch event.

“Saturday’s event is an exciting mix of colour, drama, music, culinary fare, craft, culture and homage, all taking place at a newly-refurbished location in the north of the island. It is an exciting time as we partner with Digicel to produce this event which signals the official start of the Festival – the Digicel Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes & Vintage Calypso Tent.”

New corporate title sponsor Digicel Barbados Ltd, said it was an absolute pleasure to support the festival and cultural development and expression on the island.

“Supporting national events, such as the official opening of Crop Over, holds a special place in our hearts because it allows us to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to the community that supports us and the one we proudly call home. Barbados, with its rich cultural heritage and warm, welcoming spirit, has embraced Digicel as more than just a telecommunications company,” said Digicel CEO Natalie Abrahams.

Festival Events Planner Karen Pestaina, who is also co-producer of the event themed: “Sugar Reimagined”, said the NCF’s team has conceptualised a production that combines a range of Barbadian traditions, interpreted through various artforms, from culinary to the performing arts, all with sugar as the backdrop.

The NCF has promised patrons another packed spectacle to signal the official opening of the national festival. The cultural extravaganza appeals to the entire family and visitors to the island, offering them much to touch, sample, engage, taste, smell, and learn about Barbados’ culture and heritage.

The lengthy driveway to the factory will be the scene of another colourful parade. The procession will be infused with music, dance, and storytelling. Tuk bands, dancers, spectacular dray carts, and the inimitable Sons of God Apostolic Spiritual Baptist Church will be there to bless the last canes.

“Though shorter than last year’s route, it will be equally impactful. The dray carts will be very important to depict our Sugar Reimagined theme,” Pestaina outlined.

A new introduction to this year’s launch will be the Millennial Hub, a mini trade show of some of the island’s most talented and emerging entrepreneurs.

Young entertainers Stiffy, the reigning Scotiabank Junior Monarchs Yahandje and Tae, as well as Mighty Bit Bit, and the Haynesville Youth Group will take to the stage in the Millennial Hub.

For children and adults attending the Digicel Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes and Vintage Tent, Haymans Factory will be transformed into one expansive, interactive showcase. The list of attractions include: Sip & Paint, demonstrations by the Landship, spoken word performances, historical re-enactments, Chefs’ Corner, the Bajan Taste Buds featuring new twists on indigenous fare, and a grand Bajan Market Place where a range of products and treats will be sold and sampled. There will also be the finals of the Indigenous Cultural Heritage Games at the event.

The Children’s Play Area will include a Masquerade Tent where youngsters and their parents can view Sunshine Snacks Junior Kadooment band costumes and register on site to join a band of their choice.

A big hit since its introduction last year, the 2023 version of the Vintage Calypso Tent will keep patrons jumping with the most popular Road March/Tune of the Crop hits up to 2003.

Road March legends will include cultural ambassadors RPB and Gabby, as well as Edwin Yearwood, Lil Rick, Grynner, Serenader, Blood and more.

Pestaina stated: “This is an event for everyone. It’s free and serves up everything you want to know about Barbados. . . Hayman’s Sugar Factory is the place to be.” (PR)

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