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Channel #9 -  Barbados News




Crop Over, Barbados' internationally acclaimed cultural festival, will officially begin on Sunday June 28 at a new venue in the heart of the City.

For the first time, the traditional Thanksgiving Service and Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes have been incorporated into one event at Independence Square and hundreds of Barbadians and visitors are expected in attendance.

The Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes will include a parade from Queen's Park, along St. Michael's Row and the Charles Duncan O'Neal Bridge on to Independence Square where the rituals will take place.

The event, which is aimed at showcasing the island's heritage, will also feature performances from several cultural groups and choirs, the Sons of God Apostolic Church, and the crowning of the King and Queen of the Crop.

"We have basically incorporated two events into one, along with the traditional crowning of the king and queen of the Crop. Moving it to Independence Square, we think is more fitting as we seek to refine Crop Over and enhance recognition of the season of Emancipation," said Ken Knight, Chairman of the National Cultural Foundation.

On July 4, the Barbados National Bank Heritage Gala will be staged at Queen's Park under the theme "We Sugar Story". This too will showcase aspects of Barbadian heritage, including exhibitions, entertainment, children's attractions, a variety concert, a folk show and local films.

Of the June 27 to August 3 Festival, Knight assured there would be something for everyone in a festival that was still evolving with several components such as literary arts, craft, visual arts, heritage celebrations, cuisine and music.

Over the years, the Festival has emerged as a major economic force and cultural product that also drives summer tourism traffic to the island. Again this year, Barbados' brand of carnival is expected to attract visitors, from the Caribbean and the major markets of North America and Europe, to join locals in a range of activities.

The Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) and the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) have teamed up to promote Barbados and its cultural products in the island's main source markets, including Canada, the USA, England and several Caribbean territories and there are expectations for a relatively good season, in spite of global economic challenges.

Among the many avenues used to promote the island's premier cultural event are television and radio in North America, media releases, and private functions for key media and top producing travel agents to assist Barbados in selling Crop-Over to their audiences.

Speaking on the importance of the Festival in Barbados' marketing mix, Senior Vice President at the BTA, Cicely Walcott said, "The Crop over Festival is marketed as the premier festival of our 7 magnificent festivals. This event generates substantial revenue for Barbados especially from the VFR market which tends to stay more and more in paid accommodation rather than with family.  They also bring along other friends and workmates to sample the Festival. We have heightened our partnership with the NCF in promoting the Festival in Trinidad and St. Lucia and we expect to reap many benefits from this partnership."

"In addition, we have negotiated a summer schedule with Air Jamaica targeted especially at the VFR market so that  capacity on other carriers is available for other leisure business. I must also point out that we market Crop over as a part of the season of emancipation and we expect to generate traffic not only in the last week of July but throughout the entire period which starts July 4".