For two days every July, the District of Maple Ridge is transformed into a West Indies island sanctuary for those taking part in the 14th annual Maple Ridge Caribbean festival.
Beginning noon on Saturday July 12 and running until 7 pm Sunday July 13, the annual festival will be lighting up downtown with everything from 15 live bands representing all genres of Caribbean music and performing on two stages, to an open air market and large kid zone featuring rides and street entertainers.
And this year, the volunteer Maple Ridge Caribbean Festival Society will be showcasing their newest attraction – a colorful parrot mascot who has yet to be named.
“You can see him on our Facebook page. We want the community to submit their suggestions,” says event organizer and host Deddy Geese.
Devoted to the family-friendly affair since its inception, Geese recalls when the festival was just getting started.
“I remember the first year so well. We were very green doing this,” he says.
Geese emphasizes he still loves all aspects of festival planning including the musical line-up that always includes repeat performers back by popular demand such as the California Beach Boys tribute band.
Other favourites include King Fish, a master of the limbo as well as Maffie and Crew who always get the crowd on their feet with soca, reggae, zouk, calypso and dance-hall hits.
“It’s another perfect beach party so bring your surf boards out and go for it,” he adds.
As in recent years past, Geese says approximately 18,000 festival goers are expected over the two-day period which is why he recommends, “walk, bicycle or bus,” to the festivities in downtown Maple Ridge.