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The carnival launch, which includes a comprehensive program of entertainment, is taking place today, May 21, at the Lithuanian Banquet Hall in Ontario's capital city, which is also the home of the largest community of Caribbean nationals in Canada.
Saturday's entertainment package comprises presentations of Grenada's Jab Jab, Shortknee and fancy masquerade, steelpan and calypso, as well as an exposition promoting Grenada as a tourist destination.
It's the second overseas launch of Spicemas 2011. The first was in London, England, and another is planned for Port of Spain, Trinidad.
The Grenada launch is scheduled for June 4 at the National Stadium, St. George's.
Spicemas, which culminates August 8 and 9, is using the theme, "Uniquely Rooted in Our Rich Ancestral Traditions. Spicemas: Home of 100,000 Jab Jabs."
Senator Arley Gill, Minister with responsibility for Culture, and Grenada Carnival Committee (GCC) chairman, Colin Dowe, are confident that with heavy promotion and planned innovations for this year's Spicemas, the festival will be a success.
Sen. Gill has made a special appeal to journalists and media houses in Grenada to support the promotion by highlighting the work of artistes.
"I can tell you a lot of artistes have finished their work already. They're just waiting to release," Sen. Gill said at a recent news conference hosted by the GCC in St. George's.
The Minister, who is Toronto for the first-ever Grenada carnival launch in that city, questioned "how many journalists go to the panyards to follow a rehearsal and do a feature story on what one of the pansides is doing for panorama?"
He also asked: "How many persons go the mas camps and do feature stories on the designs for the costumes? How many of our journalists and media houses go the music studios and do feature programs and give us a peek into what we can expect?"
Among the carnival changes announced for 2011 are activities to be held every Thursday and Sunday at a "Carnival City" at Fort Matthew; a lengthening of the route for Monday Night Mas, now starting it in Grand Anse; staging a special event for "Traditional Mas" such as Shortnee, May Pole and Wild Indian; and putting on a "Last Lap Concert" at the stadium on Carnival Tuesday night.
"What we would have noticed happening in recent times, at the end of the Parade of Bands on Tuesday, is that persons are walking up and down the Carenage almost as crazy ants," said Dowe, the GCC chairman. "There isn't a crowning activity that says this is the climax of Spicemas."
Spicemas has police permission to go until midnight on Carnival Tuesday. Dowe said the "Last Lap Concert" is being planned because Spicemas "never goes until midnight" - or even close thereto - “because of the lack of that kind of crowning activity."