The Cayman Winter Carnival is packing up shop after its five-week run, and many in attendance for its final night hope they don’t have to wait another twenty years for a comeback.
While the wind and drizzle wasn’t exactly ideal, several thrill seekers were on hand for one last adrenaline fix.
“It’s just something fun to do in Cayman, it’s really fun here,” said Shae Hollins.
“I think it’s something that should always be here, yearly,” added Paul Laidlaw.
After five weeks of adrenaline-fueled excitement, the Cayman Winter Carnival is coming to a close. Those in attendance for the final night Sunday (7 January) said they hope it comes back bigger and better next season.
“Hopefully they bring it back this December with like more rides and stuff, it would be way better, I think they would get more crowded out here, so hopefully they bring it back December,” said Dejohn Fredrick.
Rides like the skyfall scored high marks with many carnival-goers, but Mr. Fredrick, a 16-year-old CIFEC student told Cayman 27 he’s looking for an even bigger thrill next time.
“It’s a good ride and everything,” he said after a turn on the Orbiter. “You see the Graviton? It way better than this though.”
“There is not much to do here for kids, or actually for anyone if you have lived here for a long time, but this is like a new exciting adventure that I think should come every year, but bigger and better,” said Danielle Malyck, who wouldn’t let the weather dampen her spirits.
“I love this weather so much, but we don’t get out much in the summer so it is kind of a bummer, but since this is in December and January, the weather is really nice to do it,” she said.
While the winter carnival brought smiles to both young and old, employee Marlon Ford told Cayman 27 it was especially good for the youth.
“It makes the kids, or the youths have somewhere to go and have fun, other than just stay home and do nothing. It’s a good thing,” he said.
Those sentiments echoed by Izaya Reynolds.
“The young ones stay out of trouble, have something to keep them occupied,” he said before heading off for another ride.
Event director Matthew Leslie said it was nostalgia for the ‘good old days’ that prompted him to revive the winter carnival after a 23-year absence. Mr. Leslie said attendance topped 30,000 over the Cayman Winter Carnival’s 38-day run, that includes weekend and season pass holders who may have gone in and out of the venue multiple times.
On the economic impact side of the equation, Mr. Leslie said 207 Caymanians were employed for various lengths of time during the carnival and the set-up period. Of these 207, roughly three quarters were hired out of full unemployment for the carnival. For the others, it was a secondary job.
“We put over 200 Caymanians to work during the course of the event, with the pre-crew, the event crew and the post-crew that’s there now. And like I said, we put a lot of economic stimulus, a lot of injection into the economy, helping a lot of small businesses,” said Mr Leslie.
Mr. Leslie said more than 17,000 prizes were handed out over the course of the event. He told Cayman 27 talks are already underway to bring the winter carnival back – including the Gravitron – for next season’s winter carnival.