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Caribbean Days Fest in Coquitlam to cost $90K more next year

Save the dates: The popular Caribbean Days Festival will be back on July 27 and 28, 2024, at Coquitlam's Town Centre Park.
The festival parade winds its way through the Caribbean Days celebrations, at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Park, in July 2023. | Jennifer Gauthier, Tri-City News

One of the biggest multicultural festivals in Coquitlam will return to Town Centre Park next summer.

On Monday, Oct. 30, Marilyn Perrin and Avita Sharma of the Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Society of BC (TTCSBC) told the city's council-in-committee that its Caribbean Days Festival will be back July 27 and 28, 2024.

But the two also laid out the costs to stage the event next year, estimating a $90,000 hike to the $270,000 party bill to pay for increases for infrastructure, event planning, entertainment and food vendors, among other things.

"Everything is costing more," said festival chairperson Sharma, noting the rise in inflation and supply chain challenges.

This summer's celebration of Caribbean culture was the second time that TTCSBC had held it in Coquitlam; previously, it was in North Vancouver, but moved to Coquitlam’s City Centre in 2022 to meet demand.

@tricitynews Island party. 🏝️😎 #tricitynews #coquitlam #caribbean #caribbeantiktok #caribbeandays #caribbeandayscoquitlam ♬ Famalay - Skinny Fabulous & Machel Montano & Bunji Garlin

Since then, Sharma said the volunteer-run organization has "had nothing but positive feedback" about its new location and work has already begun to prepare for 2024 following Sunday's annual general meeting.

Sharma said the group is also applying for government grants and reaching out for corporate help.

The outdoor festival, which has no admission charge, sees about 60,000 visitors over the weekend to hear the lineup of bands delivering Soca, Reggae, Calypso, Latin, African and other international sounds.

There's also a carnival-themed Caribbean Days parade that winds around the park.

After Perrin handed out jerk and curry sauce bottles to elected officials, Coquitlam Coun. Trish Mandewo, who helped to bring the festival to Town Centre Park, congratulated the "small but mighty team" that puts on the fest and "makes everyone smile."

"We love to become Caribbean for the day," Mayor Richard Stewart added.