Another year, another carnival period and so another successful season for LLB. Aruba just celebrated carnival 63 and except for the usual hiccups here and there it went by pretty eventless for most carnival groups. For LLB this carnival season meant celebrating our 35th year of existence and organizing the oldest carnival group of Aruba….and celebrate we did.
It all started with the selection and presentation of our theme for 2017. The theme that was selected was from Gershwin Lee together his colleague Mrs. Marilu Robles de Medina. Gershwin is a regular participant of LLB and designer for the group. The design was an instant success with the group.
We started registration on November 28, 2016 and after two more registrations in December we were sold out. We had registered 500 participants for the regular parades and 700 participants for the Torch parade (Fakkel). It would be our 4th participation in Aruba’s torch parade. Due to the increased number of participants we were able to accommodate many new participants who would normally not have a chance to join LLB. This probably made a lot of people very happy.
Warm up party
This year we celebrated the Warm up party at a new location. We chose Villa Floralina as the new location of the warm up party because it is much bigger, there is better parking and it was better maintained. Also we chose to change the time of the party to one hour earlier. The warm up party was well visited but people still needs to get used to the new location. Also the fact that the very popular Kiwanis party was on the same date affected the attendance a little bit. We are happy with this new location and will probably repeat it next year.
Drama during Lighting Parade
For the Lighting Parade, LLB had drawn number 3 in the line up for the parade. On the day of the parade we arrived at the start on time as usual. However, our band trailer was not yet there. We had just learned that they had a braking malfunction with the trailer and that due to the braking issue the radiator of the trekker that was pulling the trailer had broken just up the road from where we were supposed to start. That meant that our group was not able to take number 3 in the line up. We were relegated to the last group for the Lighting Parade. That was if we were able to fix our trekker before we needed to join the parade.
The following pictures show that our transport team was hard at work while all of us were nervously waiting to see when the band trailer would be joining us.
When the time came for our group to join the line up the coordinators of SMAC had told us that our participants needed to start walking and that the trekker together with the band trailer would enter the parade at the round-about of Las Americas. That would have been a disaster for our group. Fortunately, the company in charge of pulling our band trailer for the parades was able to switch trekkers just in time. The coordinators of SMAC and the police were very cooperative in letting the band trailer join us from the start. This saved our participation in the Lighting Parade.
After our near disaster of Lighting Parades, we were focused on the main weekend of Aruba’s carnival. We made sure the problem with our band trailer was fixed for this weekend. In the San Nicolas parade we draw number 4 in the line up. The parade started at 12:00 when it was the hottest during the day. Very early in the parade we noticed that there were many long stops during the parade followed by fast advance which is not ideal for a parade. Specially LLB had difficulty with this stop and go progress of the parade which at various occasions created huge gaps in our group. At one point in Lagoweg, the police had to intervene by stopping the band and request the participants to move forward. Fortunately, there were no other problems with this parade and it finished on time for LLB.
For the Sunday parade we were group number 8 in the parade. We stationed ourselves in Stadionweg and waited for our turned to join the parade. This time we had learned our lesson and before Robert could even start playing we took the time to address the participants. We requested our participants to cooperate with our security and volunteers when being asked to keep moving forward. The message was well received and the participants cooperate perfectly. During the Sunday parade we did not have mayor gap problems in our group. For that we like to thank our participants. We arrived almost at 7:00PM at the finish in front of Wendy’s on the boulevard.
Cool Down Party
Before the weekend was over we had one last party to attend. Our traditional Cool Down Party starts at 7:30PM at Reflections Beach. After the parade many participants, volunteers and band members did not have time to go home and showed up at this party in their costume or volunteer shirt. At this party, Jan-Hein Poelmann of Blue Eyes Catering had an amazing dinner prepared for all our hungry participants, volunteers, band members and other guests who showed up at the party. During this party we congratulated all our participants, announced our best female and male costume winners, gave away some door prizes and thanked our sponsors and volunteers. For those who still had energy, the dance floor was their last chance to dance the night away at the tunes of this years carnival songs. The party finished around 12:00 at night.
The next morning it was time for SMAC to announce all the winners of Aruba’s carnival 63. LLB did not manage to get any prize (not even the jolliest group) but one of our regular participants managed to win the prize for “Most innovative headpiece”. He put together a actual moving domino effect on this head piece. We would like to congratulate Aldrin Maduro for this achievement. At the end it is not the prizes that keep us going. As long as our participants are happy and had fun during the parade we are happy.
Thank you all for participating in LLB and we hope to see you all back next year.