Parang on the Boardwalk
  Aryana Mohammed
December 2015

Let’s face it, this Christmas season is undoubtedly short. The infectious spirit hasn’t seemed to “infect” anyone just yet unless we’re talking about the Black Friday Sale at Price Smart that marks our love for American traditions and our mutual Trini interest in the quest for a “good deal”. Nevertheless, December is upon us and it’s time to decorate and hopefully use some of those “buy one, get one free” goodies to aid in making the season a more memorable one. However, consumerism is only one commonly touted way to wring ourselves for “Christmas joy”. We’ve forgotten that there are other ways to duplicate the same effect through worthwhile and inexpensive means like family “limes”, lavish layouts on the dinner table and entertainment.

Yes, you read right. FREE ENTERTAINMENT! Something I had no clue about until November 22nd when I took a trip to the Boardwalk in Chaguaramas. As I bended the corner to the Boardwalk, I saw tall trees clad with red and white icicle lights and what seemed to be a cluster of people at the corner of the Poui Pond and the Boardwalk waiting patiently. But for what? Well, the next feature band at this unexpectedly well-known Sunday event, “Parang on the Boardwalk”.

Apparently the Chaguaramas Development Authority in collaboration with Wack Radio 90.1 FM had started these festivities since the first Sunday in October and its set to continue straight till December 20th, the Sunday before Christmas with a spectacular line up of parranderos for the days ahead. When I attended I was fortunate enough to witness the accomplished “Los Alumnos De San Juan” in action. Imagine, they’ve been in existence for twenty-five years now, won the national title nine times and they’re fronted by the nine-time “Queen of Parang of T&T”, Alicia Jaggasar. They were truly a sight to see with their well-timed choreography, passionate music and boisterous voices. 

The word “fete” hovered in the air while they sang, exciting unaware wanderers on the Boardwalk who were probably out for a late night stroll. There was an unmarked square “dance floor” in front of the stage tent where the parranderos performed. Some people sat on the grass nearby, others rested their half-filled cups on the speaker boxes while they swayed to the music on the spot. Some seemed well acquainted with the now ritualistic Sunday evening activity and brought their portable chairs and coolers to lounge on the sides of the stage, tapping their feet to the reverberating rhythms while they admired the spunky dancers that appeared from nowhere to claim the dance space. Street hustlers smartly took advantage of the good nature of the crowd to sell their light-up toys, balloon animals and cotton candies, all ideal ideas for pacifying little children with short attention spans. Ice creams and popcorn floated about in between as snacks were available for purchase. Even the dirt track for racing remote-controlled vehicles was open and I spent some time leaning over the short wooden fence dazedly staring at mini trucks flip over obstacles and climb over small hills. 

Really, it was a wonderfully peaceful atmosphere, catering to every need and fit for fun times as the Christmas spirit wafted in the breeze waiting to put smiles on our long and tired faces. While the cool night air plastered my exposed skin, I took up residence on one of the plastic benches a distance away from the tent and enjoyed the sweet sounds of parang coupled with the occasional gurgle from the sea. As they say, a perfect ending to a perfect night.

This Christmas season, whether you’re looking for a kickstart or even if you just want to unwind then “Parang on the Boardwalk” is the place to be. Keep your calendar free because it’s every Sunday till Christmas from 5:30 to 8:30 pm and promises to be quite a treat. You definitely don’t want to miss at least one of these truly blissful experiences that harkens back to the “good ole days” of family, fun and fetes. In fact, don’t you think you missed enough already?




By: Aryana Mohammed | FEATURES | December 2015