Business Culture News

Matthew Leslie brings back Winter Carnival for a new generation

After a more than 20 year absence, the Cayman Winter Carnival is back in Cayman, and just in time for the festive season.

“It is like a trip down memory lane looking at some of the rides you know, the orient express, and also the bumper cars,” said Matthew Leslie.

The Winter Carnival is back in Cayman, and the Mr. Leslie, the event director told Cayman 27 it was nostalgia for the good old days that prompted him to seek a revival of the Winter Carnival after a generational absence.

“My mother and my grandmother and great-grandmother, it was a big family affair for all of us to come out and enjoy some of the rides,” said Mr. Leslie.

But before the fun can begin, Mr. Leslie said the focus is on safety. He said inspectors sourced from the US Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services out of Florida will arrive soon to give the carnival grounds a thorough once-over.

“This park will not open until they give that check light, and what they’re going to do over the next few days, once they get in here on the weekend, is they are going to inspect every nook and cranny of every ride, and these inspectors have to sign off on everything, est the rides, check the electricals,” said Mr. Leslie.

Mr. Leslie told Cayman 27 the festival will provide work for some 140 Caymanians and require just 14 work permits. He said local vendors will have an opportunity to share in the economic benefits.

“They can showcase themselves, make some good money. For some vendors it’s actually a lifesaver because business for some, it is not is as good as for others, so this is going to enable them to get a real jump-start for the new year,” he said.

Mr. Leslie said he has high hopes the return of the winter carnival will be a smashing success, but its ultimate success hinges on its reception by the public.

“People are always asking in Cayman for something to do, for something to do, so here we are,” he said. “I am giving people something to do, so make it a success and definitely make sure that it is enough of a success, that next year we will bring it down, will bring more rides.”

And hopes 2017 ushers in new traditions for today’s generation of young dreamers.

We checked with planning, who confirmed permission was granted for the event at Wednesday’s meeting (22 November).

Opening night is set for Friday, 1 December first, and the event runs for almost six weeks.

Tickets are $25 and include all rides, said Mr. Leslie. The tickets are available at the following retailers.

Foster’s Food Fair-IGA
Reflection’s Liquor 4 Less 
Funky Tang’s
Winner’s Circle
McRuss Grocery Stores
BarCam Fueling Station


TagsCayman Winter Carnival

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at or send an email to

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