Shelly-Ann Inniss previews Guyana’s special celebration featuring two of the Caribbean’s favourite things
Nothing quite brings the Caribbean together like the two Cs — carnival and cricket. The diaspora and those who briefly stepped abroad quickly find themselves on flights from the farthest corners into the welcome embrace of these two Caribbean staples. “Welcome home” takes on a different meaning when sitting in the stands at a Caribbean Premier League (CPL) cricket match, soaking in a mix of Caribbean accents, Caribbean music, and Caribbean sporting excellence.
With Guyana hosting the CPL semis and finals for 2022–2024, the dream opportunity to combine T20 cricket and carnival came true last year when cultural performances, art shows, music showcases, culinary safaris, and more kept patrons very busy at the nation’s first Cricket Carnival.
Headline acts included world-renowned soca artist Machel Montano, dancehall queen Spice, dancehall artist Skillibeng, and Guyana’s sweetheart and Cricket Carnival ambassador Timeka Marshall; while glitz, glamour and revelry took centre stage at the street parade through Georgetown.
Now in its second year and returning this 12–26 September, another sensational line-up of regional and international superstars is anticipated to perform at the various concerts and events.
But in addition to the exhilarating cricket competition and Cricket Carnival parties, Guyana’s natural landscapes also beckon. The country’s magnificent waterfalls, diverse wildlife, and breath-taking beauty leave you in an extraordinary state of awe.
Visits to the iconic Kaieteur Falls, Caiman House, Iwokrama Reserve, and — time permitting — enjoying sunsets from the waters of the serene Essequibo River are highly recommended. Forgetting your camera will warrant deportation!
Make sure to fuel your festivities by immersing yourself in the flavours of Guyanese cuisine, particularly at the Regional Food Festival — one of the main highlights of the Carnival. A sumptuous variety of Guyanese delicacies and delectable street food takes you on a culinary journey embracing gastronomic traditions of both Guyanese and regional cuisine. Of course, chicken curry or curry chicken is still an ongoing debate, but when you taste authentic Guyanese food, two things might be on your mind: getting the recipe, and gorging on multiple servings without looking too greedy.
Overall, Cricket Carnival offers an unparalleled experience: basking in the exhilarating vibes from the CPL games and the irresistible Carnival atmosphere outside the stands, while enjoying the culinary dexterity of local vendors, and the warmth of Guyanese people and their culture … all against the backdrop of the country’s stunning beauty. No wonder many consider the last two weeks of the CPL the ultimate cricket extravaganza.
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