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Climaxx 2013 (Houston)
Climaxx 2013

Jul 6th, 2013
HCF Jouvert 2013 (Houston)
HCF Jouvert 2013

Jul 5th, 2013
HCF - Ultra Glow (Houston)
HCF Ultra Glow

Jul 4th, 2013

A week before Houston Caribbean Festival (HCF) fetes were to begin, I spoke with TJJ's Joy Juice and found out that they were going to send me to represent for Houston Carnival. I was beyond excited especially because it was a last minute surprise. I've heard people talking about Houston's CaribFest for the past few years and this was finally MY time to go and experience it!

I stepped off the plane in Texas and the first thing I felt was the humidity. Although this was an instant reminder of typical weather in the mid-west, my excitement to be there immediately over-weighed the instant amount of perspiration that came over me. It reminded me of being back in the Caribbean heat, something I genuinely miss.

After spending five days in Houston, I realized that it's a melting pot of all the Caribbean islands. The very first fete I attended was "Ultra Glow - All White Party" on the Thursday night. It had more of a 'small-island' feel with many of the partygoers from Grenada, USVI, St. Lucia and even Puerto Rico! Everyone came out dressed in their favorite WHITE attire with flag in hand, ready to represent their county.

Right after Ultra Glow ended, we rolled right into "Ancil's Backyard Breakfast Party" which started at 5am. From dusk 'til dawn! When people said they 'went all night', they weren't kidding. And you could easily tell who did because they were still in ALL WHITE from the last fete! The DJ's were definitely pumping Soca in our veins because that and alcohol were the reasons no one felt tired. By the time 10 o'clock rolled around the Texas heat started to hit and everybody began dancing in the water emanating from the system set up on the roof of the gazebo. Thank goodness for the water! This party could have kept going until the evening if Ancil had let it.

Then on Friday night, I went to HCF's 2nd official event for the weekend ... the infamous "Jouvert" (which is one experience NOT to miss), and there was a mix of EVERY ISLAND to non-island-participants. Here, the Rodeo held a staggering 3,000+ people whom came from all around just to celebrate and have a good time in one place. It was a Jouvert with an Americanized twist! Every party I attended throughout my five days trip was unique and brought their own spice to the HCF's experience.

Saturday was the notable "Climaxx" party! Rammed to capacity, this party had everybody who was anybody in Texas showing up for a real fete. Held by Lymerz Int'l, they rented out the Museum of African American Culture. This was a beautiful two-story building which was just big enough to hold the crowd. Dance floor upstairs and food and drink downstairs. Everyone LITERALLY partied from start to finish and came out sweaty because it was PLENTY VIBES. Dancing with your friends and the people beside you, there was no room to move, but then again, who wanted to go anywhere if you were here!! This is definitely one not to miss if you make it next year for Houston CaribFest.

Sunday July 7th, "The Ultimate Premium Breakfast Party" has finally arrived. This is the very last fete before the road. Still a fresh party to the city, it was held at the famous Belvedere Lounge and lived up to it's name. From 10AM-3PM, it was the ULTIMATE of non-stop singing, dancing, drinking and gettin' on baaad. There was plenty of food (especially DOUBLES) available, as well as, drink options since it was at a lounge with a full bar. MC for the day, Mel, was so evoked by the crowd's vibe he couldn't resist but take his shirt off. Then before we knew it ... it was plenty vibes and plenty action! This party kept us pumpin' even through the end and into the parade.

Sunday afternoon, HCF held their 10th anniversary "Parade of the Bands & Festivlal" from 2-10pm. It spotlights Caribbean and Latin culture with vendors from all over selling native food, drinks, apparel and accessories as well as consisting of an arts & crafts area and a kids zone.

Starting at 2pm the mas bands paraded around Tom Bass Park until 5:30pm. Then the masqueraders hit the stage competing for "Band of the Year" in Houston for 2013 (still TBD). The show was hosted by Giselle D Wassi One, Fire Kyle and Fatta Carey with special LIVE performances by a local Panamanian Dance Group, The Galaxy Band, Shanead, T-Rock, Pumpa, Rudy, Burning Flames, Nyee, Yankee Boy, Lyrikal, Tallpree and the list goes on.

I ended my trip FINALLY enjoying some authentic Cajun food (yes, I know it's not from the islands but I had to experience what Houston is about when Carnival is not present). After Hurricane Katrina hit the Bayou in 2005, many people up and moved West, landing in Houston. This created and established a big bayou community. With their strong presence came many notable restaurants, one of which is called Pappadeuxs. I am a big Seafood eater so I got the Lousiana-style Seafood Gumbo and it was DELICIOUS!

All-in-all, Houston showed me not only it's diverse Caribbean community but the culture that has grown there. It's not just one of the biggest cities in Texas, but I'd say one of the most diverse in the United States worth visiting. So why not visit during Houston Caribbean Festival and experience it all at once. And if it's one thing I've have learnt from this trip, it's that Houstonians definately know how to have a good time!!

Note: If YOU live in HOUSTON and are ready for more vibes, HCF is holding another CaribFest the first week of November. Are you ready?

I will see you back in Houston for CaribFest 2014!

Houston Caribbean Festival 2013

Coop aka Smiley Juice

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