Clifton Park will look, feel and sound like the Caribbean this weekend. The annual Trinidad and Tobago Days Festival takes over the park, featuring the music, food and culture of the two islands, located just off the coast of Venezuela.
"This year we are focusing on an old-time calypso theme," says Gloria Gibbs of the Trinidad & Tobago Association of Baltimore, the sponsoring group of the festival.
Calypso is considered the originating music of the islands, with its lively beat and often improvised lyrics.
Calypso singers from all along the East Coast will perform at the "Calypso Monarch Competition" Saturday, singing old-time calypso and vying for prizes.
Also on Saturday, an Old-Time Calypso Tent, dubbed Santimanitay, will showcase music by Trinidad and Tobago's noted calypso performer Nap Hepburn, among others.
Festival visitors will also hear chutney, soca and steel-band music both Saturday and Sunday.
Other performers on Saturday include JMC Triveni, "D" Bird Soca, Impulse, the Tropical Ensemble Steelband and Double "D."
"On Sunday, we're having eight performers and a live steel band direct from Trinidad and Tobago," Gibbs says.
The current Miami "Soca Monarch," Dexter Keane, will perform Sunday, as will Lawrence Rogers Tropical Heat Pan Jazz, St. Veronica's Steelband and Alvin Seecharan Chutney Soca.
Visitors will also enjoy ethnic foods and drinks, including authentic Trinbagonian and Caribbean dishes. Vendors will be showing and selling Trinidadian and Tobagonian arts and crafts, as well.
Hundreds attended last year's festival, including many local Caribbeans and supporters of the island republic's culture.
The Trinidad and Tobago Days Festival takes place from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Clifton Park Bandshell, on St. Lo Drive off Harford Road. Admission is $5; free for ages under 12. Call 410-323-8533 or 410-925-8876.
For more family events, see Page 46.