Rain doesn’t dampen Caribbean fest

Between 10,000 and 15,000 attend weekend event in downtown Maple Ridge

The Caribbean Festival costume parade walks down 224th Street in Maple Ridge on Sunday.

The Caribbean Festival costume parade walks down 224th Street in Maple Ridge on Sunday.

Thousands of people flocked to the Caribbean festival over the weekend, despite rain Sunday.

Between 10,000-15,000 people enjoyed the sights and sounds of the 12th annual event in downtown Maple Ridge.

Deddy Geese, co-founder and member of the Caribbean Festival Society, was pleased with Saturday’s turnout.

“It was absolutely astounding how many people we had so early in the day,” he said.

Festival contest winner Diane Verhaeghe got to be on stage with Saturday’s headliners, California Beach Boys Tribute to the Beach Boys.

The kid zone was also a big draw, with much more to do for kids than previous years, including a rock climbing wall.

“The weather was great. It was an absolute perfect festival day. It was a 12 on a No. 10 scale.”

Although Sunday was more challenging with the swing in weather, Geese was still pleased with the turnout.

“A lot of the Caribbean community came out and supported it, as every year. So, there still was a lot of people there. Certainly not the amount that we had on Saturday. But what can you do about the weather, nothing,” said Geese.

The introduction of the Vancouver Outreach Community Sweet Soul Gospel Choir to kick off the musical entertainment on Sunday was a success and added a different component to the festival.

“It was so incredibly moving,” said Geese. “That definitely will be a component that will definitely be back in years to come.”

Next year Geese will be focusing on Saturday as more of a summer celebration with the beach party in the park theme.

He will also be looking for a new headliner, dropping the popular California Beach Boys Tribute to the Beach Boys for a fresh act.

“You can’t bring an act three times in a row, you get stale. You have to always be put a little bit of spice into it, change the format a little bit,” said Geese.

Other than that, Geese says, they are on the right track for the 13th annual event.

“Overall there’s just nothing really to improve upon,” said Geese.

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