Thrilling and exciting were some of the adjectives patrons used to describe the opening of the inaugural Guyana Festival at the National Stadium yesterday. The event, which was kicked into motion, with an enthralling segment of paratrooping by ranks of the Guyana Defence Force certainly set the pace for a stimulating start.
The audience was awe-struck as they gazed to the sky to watch the ranks, armed merely with their parachutes and miniature golden arrow heads, leapt one after the other to display their skills. “Oohs and aahs” were voiced in harmony by the spectators, some of whom were left bewildered when a parachute failed to open.
The initial concern of some sections of the spectators was that, the life of one of the paratroopers was in jeopardy. However, their concerns were soon appeased. Word quickly started travelling through the body of spectators that the paratrooper was armed with a backup parachute which safely brought him, like his colleagues to the safety of the stadium’s grassy surface. Resounding applause was echoed throughout the stadium also for one paratrooper who was unable to steer his landing within the confines of the stadium. He landed on a nearby lot.
Some patrons were also able to enjoy a helicopter ride which was on offer to those willing to pay.
There was also an area specially dedicated for children, complete with exciting rides.
Ahead of the exciting paratrooping feature, the stadium was already abuzz with activities as scores of exhibitors, drawn from both the public and private sector were adding their finishing touches. Noticeable among the exhibitors were both Chinese and Indian owned companies.
Before long, a flood of people of various ethnicities, all colorfully garbed, started trekking into the lively stadium all embracing a common aim – to experience the start of the inaugural festival.
Under the theme “Sound, Soul and Taste,” the event embraced a rather informal format as following the
Paratrooping, and a segment which saw spectators being thrilled as a low flying GDF plane circled just over the stadium, drama was the next phase they were treated to.
Simultaneously, a mimic Chinese dragon entertained with sultry moves and there were also masquerade and contemporary dancers who kept the audience enthused as did comedian Henry Rodney who brought the audience to tears in laughter.
Folk song renditions by a group of children were no less captivating as was the plaiting of the maypole by gyrating girls and folklores were in abundance.
The Festival, which has a specific focus on Guyana’s diverse culture, will continue today. Football and cricket matches and a Night of Legends concert promises to be exciting entertainment. The Festival will culminate on Sunday with a cook out and a grand concert titled “Next”.
The final day is also expected to be very intriguing as a lucky patron will be selected to walk away with the gate prize of a brand new car.
But although the Festival was viewed as a new introduction to the entertainment scene of Guyana, it was rather similar to that of the annual Guyana Exposition (GuyExpo), it was certainly very well received, evident by its attendance.
However, it certainly was not without some challenges. Primary among these was poor sound quality during the drama segment and not enough seating for the gathering of patrons who flocked the tarmac. Moreover, some were forced to stand closeby, causing an obstruction to those who were seated causing them to complain bitterly.
The event was attended by a wide cross-section of dignitaries including the President and other members of the Government.
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