What a wonderful weekend! Mourning Fyre, House of Cirque, and some of our amazing friends were able to take part in the Phoenix Caribbean Carnival Parade this past Sunday. It's always so much fun to get out there and see all the amazing costumes being showcased.
Our own costumes involved lots of crafting as well as a few quick last minute additions. I hand made nine pairs of paper mache devil horns as well as three pairs of cellophane wings. Most of the costuming was red clothing I've been acquiring over the years but we added a few last minute orc morph suits because they looked so darn cool. I was a little disappointed that they came with the brand name on the seat of the pants. That was pretty annoying.
Every time we are in a parade it takes a whole team of volunteers to make sure things go smoothly. Our buddy, Shawn, came up with the idea of making pitchforks out of scrap metal he had at his house. They were painted beautifully and were the perfect addition to our costumes. We were joined by our official crew members, John, Shane, Deanna, and myself. The House of Cirque members that joined us were Crystal, Jon, Pierre, and Sammie. Our badass crew of support friends were Grateful, Shawn, Sergio, and Darwin. We could not have done it without them!
So what the heck were we dressed up as with devil horns, wings, and pitchforks? We were playing the part of the mas band, Jab Jab. This character has been a part of carnival since the beginning. The Jab Jab are feisty characters and they will torment the parade audience as they walk by, jabbing towards them with their pitchforks and rattling their chains at them. We went with the Jab Jab theme because they breathe fire in many of the carnival parades. Instead of breathing fire (difficult to do with wind and on stilts), we had flame throwing pitchforks. Pretty awesome, right?
Here's John in his orc suit. It was a really warm day so he had to take moments with the mask of the suit down so he wouldn't overheat. The cellophane wings turned our really awesome, but I need to figure out a different mounting method. As you can see in this picture, they had a tendency to creep up on to the top of the wearer's shoulders. This seemed to be more of a problem for the guys wearing the slick morph suits. My wings seemed to stay put but I had them on bare skin.
John is in his jumping stilts and carrying one of the pitchforks that Shawn made for the group. Lastly, John is wearing a pair of the small horns that I made. Out of the nine pairs that I made, the large ones seemed to have problems slipping forward on the head. I made them really big so the balance ended up being pretty off. I'll be going back and adding some additional hair clips and elastic bands to help keep them in place on top of peoples' heads for next year. This photo is courtesy of Studio V Photography. Go check out all his photos from the parade that day.
I mentioned we were joined by our lovely friends at House of Cirque. Pierre (photo by Studio V Photography) was one of the awesome crew members that came out with Crystal from House of Cirque. He's wearing amazing horns crafted specifically for the parade.
His whole costume is crafted by the super talented Crystal. The swaying fabric of the pants and arm bands are authentic to the stilt walk costume styles of the Caribbean. We were asked to join the carnival last year as Moko Jumbies. With the majority of us not being from the islands, we've been doing lots of reading and research on what it means to be a Moko Jumbie. Crystal's costumes are pretty dead on.
We're looking to expand our numbers of stilt walking crew for next year and would love if you would join us! Crystal runs stilt classes throughout the month. Check out her page and reach out to her today about learning how to stilt! It's easier than you think and it is amazingly fun to challenge your perspective!
The parade lasted over two hours so we were pretty excited to get to the end and come down off our stilts. The joy of peg stilts and jumping stilts is that you have to be constantly moving. You can stay in one place but you have to keep taking microsteps to keep your balance. We walked over 10,000 steps by the time we hit the festival grounds.
At the festival they had the best Caribbean music playing, the smell of the food was amazing, and the people were wonderful to interact with. We had all our hula hoops and poi out and were teaching mini classes. There is nothing more inspiring than seeing kids pick up flow props for the first time. It's just so cool to see them figuring out things that took us days to work out in our adult brain.
I can't wait to participate next year! I have some really great ideas about how to make our entry in the parade even bigger and better! For more information about this cultural event, please visit The Phoenix Caribbean Carnival.