Have you ever wondered how to get involved in the Toronto’s big Caribbean carnival parade? Sure, you can always “storm” the parade (something that is not encouraged) or you can register with one of Toronto ‘mas bands that vary in popularity, theme, and cost. You better hurry though, costume availability is limited the closer we get to carnival.
Here are a few easy steps to be help prospective revelers sign up for the annual carnival parade:
Step 1— Choose a mas band
There are a number of registered mas band that have 10-12 different costume sections (on average) that are designed to represent the band’s theme. A list of 2015 participating ‘mas bands can be found here.
The largest band can swell to the size of a small village with thousands of participants wining and chipping down the road!
Step 2 – Register for your costume:
Now comes the hard part: choosing your favourite costume. The elaborate, colourful and detailed costumes are sold on a first-come, first-served basis! If you have your eye on a particular costume and/or section you better purchase it quickly before the section sells out.
Costumes are sold according to a tiered system. Backline costumes, mid-line, front line and ultra-front line costumes can range from $150-$1000. Costumes normally consist of minimal adornments including sequined bikini-esqe outfits, feathered headpieces, arm bands, leg bands and more.
Male costumes are generally less elaborate than their female counterparts.
Step 3 – Pick up your costume:
A few days prior to the parade, you will receive notification that your costume is ready for pickup. Those that are coming from out of town have the option of having someone pick up their costumer on their behalf, but special arrangements need to be made ahead of time.
The last day to pick up costumes is usually the Thursday or Friday before the big parade on Saturday.
Step 4 – Meet your band on the road:
Turn up at your designated meeting spot and party for as long as you can stay on your feet. Ensure that you arrive with enough time for last-minute costume alterations, bio-breaks and makeup touch ups.
You will also want to meet your band prior to crossing the stage which is the judged portion of the parade. After all, you will want bragging rights post-carnival that your chosen band was tops and won the entire competition!