Coming Together and Staying Together
Save the Date
Carnival Parade & Concert
Sunday, October 8,2023
Staying Together is what Miami Carnival’s Chair Joan Hinkson – Justin and Executive Director Mario Zamora are All About.
Together they form the bridge within a dedicated coalition of nineteen members that make up the Miami Broward One Carnival Host Committee, Inc., producers and promoters of “Miami Carnival.”
Hinkson-Justin has led the team and this enterprise from the early days. As a former Miami Carnival Band Leader and Founding Board Member, her history goes back to the genesis, thirty years plus, as both masquerader and executive. It’s a compelling combination in the business of Carnival.
Says Zamora, “Our Chair is formative in our coming together and staying together, with a Vision and Mission of making Miami Carnival a Mecca in North America.”
Zamora, a family man of thirty-three years with six children and a few grands, knows a thing or two about holding large dynamics together. “Coming together is magic and chemistry; staying together is the goal,” says Zamora. “And thanks to our Board Chair we have managed to stay together, both as a transforming team and an evolving product.
Today the Board Members feel accomplished in some critical goals such as keeping the element of Pageantry alive and sacred on Carnival Sunday; story-telling through costumes, festive and descriptive artistry, and imagery, aligned through a folklore or mythical narrative. Each story (or tale) is carried by a Carnival Band, its Leaders, Designers, Masqueraders, and Music – poetry in motion.
The Board has also trademarked a Concert at the end of Carnival Sunday which many attend; some come for the concert only, others for the Mas only, and many for both. This year we have major superstars Patrice Roberts, Skinny Fabulous, Farmer Nappy, Iwer George, and Nomcebo, just to name a few!
In the last four years, this Team Strong has also secured Live Streaming on TV, the coverage which has helped to engage a wider audience and awareness. These successes, says Zamora, have created a recognized brand and momentum, to help us with our continued and future goals.
Within our financial and professional purview, we aim to grow both in number of bands, and number of masqueraders in each band, and to continue to attract international talent for both our On-the-Road Music Bands and Individual Performing Artists.
This, while making the business side of this epic production financially stable and sustainable with the help of our partners -The Greater Miami Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and TD Bank; along with critical support from the City of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, and the Greater Miami Beach area.
We aim to add the sponsorships of all these entities, together with the revenue from our various events, to equal a model of financial stability that comes with a recognized and celebrated product of note and notoriety.
Says Zamora, “People out there look at the Caribbean island-models - Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Barbados, to name a few, and see “Free” Carnival; and many do not understand that it is sponsored by the local Governments who invest a lot of money upfront, in order to create a tourism and cultural destination for this brand and their nations.”
In South Florida, we hope to expand our Government Support in areas of city and street permitting and security, as well as investment infrastructure. It is one of our Goals; and we know that developing the brand and the reputation will aid in this relationship.
On a more personal and passionate note, our team, which includes John G. Beckford, Director of Marketing and Sponsorship and Treasurer, and Yvette Harris, Public Relations, aims to offer a Carnival Experience to the residents and visitors of the City of Miami Beach and the Great Miami Beach area, and by extension the South Florida Region.
We hope that if we are able to 'Free Up' Miami Carnival it can be an interactive parade of carnival in the streets with participating bands and masqueraders, which residents and visitors to the city may view as bystanders along the streets. Or from vantage points in local restaurants, bars, hotels, and beaches. We aim for the safe, sweet, Soca vibes of Carnival to wash over Miami and South Florida for one weekend a year, in the true spirit of Carnival.
Our ultimate goal is a pure Caribbean Carnival experience - free spirit, free days, free dancing, and free music while partaking in a festival of good vibes and one love.
During the days of Carnival in the islands, the sound of Soca music and steel pan can be heard wafting over the city, through the streets, into the mountains, laced in the warm breezes and blue skies of Carnival Season, reminding us of the rhythm of the land and its people.
Many reflect on Carnival in the islands, as a once-a-year group ‘therapy’ for the citizens. If you have experienced it, you know it; and you know it can be a life-changing and community-solidifying experience. Carnival.
It calms the nerves and tempers the soul. It is an Equalizer. Tales have been told of vendors dancing with judges, rich and poor leveled to the earthy, rootsy sounds of Soca and Kaiso; where gangsters and police officers all lay down their roles and rivalry to push the band forward. Carnival time is a healing time, reminding us of our humanity and our beauty through dance, music, and art.