South Jersey Carib fest celebrates 15th anniversary

The South Jersey Caribbean Cultural and Development Organization (SJCCDO) last Saturday celebrated its 15th Annual South Jersey Caribbean Festival at Wiggins Park at the Camden waterfront.

The free cultural event showcased Caribbean art, music, food and dance, encompassing diverse aspects of the Caribbean, including fire eaters, limbo dancers, salsa dancers, steel drum, and reggae and calypso / soca music.

The multi-cultural family event attracted Caribbean and other nationals from the New Jersey and Philadelphia regions, with dynamic entertainment and Caribbean food favorites, such as jerk chicken, oxtail, curry shrimp and roti.

There were also free activities in the children’s tent, community information, health screenings, Caribbean food vendors and gifts.

The event, adjacent to the Adventure Aquarium and the Susquehanna Bank Center, attracted international and local artistes, who enwrapped attendees with energetic cultural dance and musical performances at the Wiggins Park concert stage.

Artistes included international recording artist Curtis C, Navel String, Philly Dilly, Jakie, and Wise Guy from St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Hamalali Wayunagu Garifuna Folkloric Dance Company; and Nu Image Band from Dominica.

Performers also comprised soca fitness dancers; Philadelphia Pan Stars; and the Kaos Mas Band, winners of the 2015 Philly Caribbean Carnival.

Kaos masqueraders delighted the crowd with their colorful costumes, adding to “island atmosphere”, according to SJCCDO president and festival coordinator Kylla Herbert.

Artistes from the Camden-based groups, Unity Community Center’s African Dance and Drum Ensemble, Camden’s Sophisticated Sisters (CSS), and Poet Ras Niger Ali, were also on hand.

The organizers paid tribute to the organizing group’s founder, the late Nkem Tshombe, a native of Nevis, the sister isle of St. Kitts, and Camden City resident for 30 years.

“The SJCCDO relies solely on donations and sponsors to present this free cultural experience to the community,” said Herbert, Tshombe’s daughter.

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