Several changes are on the cards for this year’s Crop-Over Festival. Among them is a longer route for Kadooment revellers and the rebranding of the Party Monarch and Sweet Soca Competition to "Soca Royale", which will now take place at Bushy Park, St. Philip.

The changes were revealed yesterday by Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, who was speaking at the Crop-Over 2010 sponsors’ reception at the Wispers on the Bay complex.

He explained that the Grand Kadooment route will now start at Warrens and proceed along Green Hill, eventually joining the traditional route to Spring Garden.

In addition, the Pic-o-De-Crop Semi Finals will return to the National Stadium, and the Junior Kadooment and Junior Monarch Competition will be merged into one event and also return to the stadium.

Mr. Blackett pointed out that the Pic-o-De-Crop Finals will be held at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown Market would commence a day earlier and a new feature of the Fore-day Morning Jam will be a sunrise beach party.

The festival, which has as its theme "Follow me to Crop-Over", will kick off on Saturday, July 3, with a procession through the streets of Bridgetown and travel to Queen’s Park.

The Culture Minister explained that at this year’s official start, government has sought to include persons of different ethnicities living here.

"Throughout Queen’s Park, there will be wide ranging activities, including side walk cafes, performance areas, play areas for children, cultural villages and, for the first time, displays and stalls set up by the multi-national groups living in Barbados."

Mr. Blackett also disclosed that discussions among stakeholders on the proposed two-day street parade, which he mentioned at the recent Estimates debate, were ongoing.

"You would have heard me mention that consideration is being given to a two-day street parade. The concept is being thrashed out and after consultations within government and with key stakeholders, full details will be disclosed."

Mr. Blackett also reiterated Government’s commitment to the establishment of a department with special responsibilities for festivals and events, so undivided attention could be given to the developmental and commercial activities.

However, while the details of the department are being "fine-tuned", a temporary unit has been established within the National Cultural Foundation to coordinate Crop-Over 2010.

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