ON Wednesday, September 25th 2019, the Events Company of St Lucia Inc. joined its partners, the Msgr. Patrick Anthony Folk Research Center (FRC) and the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) in a press conference set up to announce the Creole Heritage Month (CHM) calendar of activities to a group of key stakeholders, including the media and the public.
As the lead agency responsible for producing events of national relevance and scope, Events Saint Lucia has collaborated with the FRC and CDF to execute activities for Creole Heritage Month which will kick off with a launch event in Soufriere on Sunday, September 29th 2019 from 4 a.m., under the theme Dékouvè Soufriere (Discover Soufriere). The launch theme is in-keeping with the overarching message for Creole Heritage Month (CHM) 2019, Dékouvè Sent Lisi, Dékouvè Kò’w (Discover Saint Lucia, Discover Yourself).
“The intention is to encourage Saint Lucians to embark on a journey of self-discovery through cultural immersion, while also discovering lesser known communities, sites and practices around the island,” notes Louise Victor, Executive Director of the Folk Research Center. “We are very pleased to have the expertise of the Events Saint Lucia team to support us on this journey.”
The launch event will be presented in three parts commencing with Séwénal, a daybreak celebration beginning at the Old Copra Factory and ending at Old Trafford Complex from 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., followed by Sulphur Springs Wellness at Sulphur Springs Park from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and culminating with the Launch of Creole Heritage Month at the Old Trafford Complex from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The full day of activities promises to be enlightening, fun and educational with cultural performances, an exhibition, sale of authentic creole dishes and special discounts off tours and excursions around Soufriere. The lineup of entertainment will include traditional cultural and folk groups AvotServis, Secret Band, Helen Folk Dancers, Soufcan Pan and Future Lights.
Critical to the planning and execution of Dékouvè Soufriere is the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation (SRDF) with project lead, General Manager Franklin Solomon who stated, “Soufriere has many gems, some of which we have not yet been discovered. We boldly proclaim that Soufriere is one of the most beautiful places on earth and we are proud to be the host venue for the launch of the 2019 Creole Heritage Month, as we, too, set the stage for future national events of greater magnitude. Working closely with the FRC, CDF and Events Saint Lucia is a good start.” The SRDF is instrumental in negotiating reduced rates for popular Soufriere tours and excursion packages for this special launch event. The discounted offers include Sulphur Springs Tour and Ziplining at EC$40, Sapphire Falls and Sulphur Springs Tour at EC$20, Mud Bath and a trek up the famous Tet Paul Nature Trail (EC$20) and a refreshing bath in the exquisite Diamond Water Falls and hike to Tet Paul Nature Trail (EC$20). A special price will be offered for entrance into the Sulphur Baths. Also included in the Dékouvè Soufriere special is a Staycation offer from Fond Doux Estate with rates as low as USD150 per couple per night with breakfast included.
Post Sunday’s launch, the month of creole activity will feature a number of events staged islandwide, commencing with FRC Koudmen, the Mount Pleasant site clean up with cooking on site on October 5th starting at 7 a.m. Then, on October 18th from 8 a.m., the Laborie Vendors Association will stage FestenVyelon, Dansé, a celebration of traditional music with focus on the violin. This event will feature Manmay La kay, Eastern Folk Band, Clara Lights, Les Danseurs Traditionels and Extra Love Band.
On October 20th the Micoud community will host FestenJwé Manmay at the Micoud Playing Field, a showcase of traditional and African games with sales of traditional snacks such as ice lollies and local sweets. The event takes place from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Schools from across the island will also converge on the National Cultural Center (NCC) from 9 a.m. on October 22nd for Jennès Kwéyòl, the Schools Kwéyòl Folk Festival which is being organized by the Curriculum and Materials Development Unit (CAMDU) in collaboration with FRC.
Creole Heritage Month crescendos with Grand Fèt Kwéyòl (Jounen Kwéyòl) in two major community venues – the Daren Sammy Promenade in the north of the island and at Beanfield, Vieux Fort. Both activities will kick off from 7 a.m. with church services and move into the traditional Creole breakfast. Celebrations on that day will feature performances by local cultural music groups, exhibitions, traditional dance, traditional games like Woulélaba and a variety of authentic creole cuisine and creole arts and crafts.
To culminate Creole Heritage Month celebrations and to commemorate National Creole Day which is celebrated internationally on October 28th each year, the FRC has organized a Kwéyòl Conference which will focus on the language orthography of Kwéyòl with a keynote address entitled “Major Milestones in Kwéyòl Language Development” by Her Excellency the former Governor General of Saint Lucia, Dame Pearlette Louisy.
“We understand the value of collaboration, the pooling of resources and expertise to produce excellent results that, as standalone agencies we may not be able to achieve. The good relationships that we have forged with the FRC and CDF as well as the other stakeholders over the years continue to engender sharing of skills, closeness within our communities, expansion of our networks and overall more efficient, effective and quality outputs,” commented Chief Executive of Events Saint Lucia, Lorraine Sidonie.
Sidonie went on to thank FLOW, the Platinum Sponsor of the Saint Lucia Summer Festival, for its continued support.