June 29, 2022

Funtopia Youth Initiative hosts MOKO FEST!

On Sunday, 3 July 2022, the Funtopia Youth Initiative Foundation will be hosting “MOKO FEST” the first everof its kind, an Afro-Caribbean festival that brings the Moko Jumbie and the Art of Stilt Walking to the fore- front in St. Martin. This event was inspired by the worldwide growing popularity of Afropunk culture, which is a fusion of fashion, food, music, and entertainment that is heavily influenced by artist of the African diaspora and creatives in celebration of the lived black experience.

The event will be hosted at the Emilio Wilson Park, which is a prominent cultural location that has strong historical heritage roots on St. Martin. Once a former slave plantation and burial ground now a recreational park. The location has strong spiritual and cultural influence in the community.  The general community is encouraged to dressin their African, Afro Caribbean, and Afropunk wear. Special prizes will begiven for the best dressed persons at the event.

The highlight of the event will be the 100 Soualigan Giants who are students and young adults from the stilt walking afterschool and young professionals’ community program that will be show casing their learnt skills. These programs have been supported by UNESCO Sint Maarten and R4CR Trust fund funded by the World Bank for the establishment of a Moko Jumbie Culture in St Maarten.

MOKO FEST is an all-day event and experience from 8:00 am to 8:00pm.  The park will be completely transformed into a cultural village with food vendors offering a rich and diverse fusion of food from various Caribbean countries. Locally made and hand-crafted selections ranging from but not limited to health and body products as well as Art. Alston Lourens aka Big Al will be the master of ceremonies to keep the public informed about the program throughout the day.

In the morning persons can enjoy an early morning yoga session with C. Piper, Afrobeat Zumba sessions with Nico and live Capoeira demonstration by Soualiga Capoeira Group. The official opening of the event starts at mid-day with an award ceremony from the winning contestants that participated in the logo and poetry competition. A mini parade will follow which will be led by GNSTM Drum Band with the students from the Junior walkers from the Moko Jumbie Afterschool Program with their youth leaders.

There will be live poetry performances by Faizah Tabasamu, Magueda Jackson and Melissa Fleming, in addition to live musical entertainment by Dj Vybz, Dj Batko, Ma’at King, Ebony Empress, King Vers, De Connection Group, Injection Band, Shawn J and Souleymane Camara & The Djembé follete. Special presentations will also be given by dancer Dashaun Prince and special invited guests from Trinidad and Tobago (Daddy Jumbie and Russel Grant) award winning and internationally recognized Moko Jumbies.

Families are encouraged to come out in full numbers and enjoy the entire day at the park. Free stilt walking demonstrations for children and adults will be taking place on sight. In the Kids Funzone area children can enjoy bouncing castles, trampolines, face painting and special games.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate or at participating schools of the stilt walking program (at a reduced rate only). Entrance is free for young children under the age of 5, children from 5 to 17 pay $10 and adults 18and older pay $20. Funds generated from this event goes towards the continuous development of the foundation’s programs for the community.

We are hoping to expand our portfolio to reach more young persons by offering programs in performance art, life skills and other Informal education Programs that highlight alternative career options. For more information about this event contact us at mokofestsxm@gmail.com of follow us on facebook.com/FYIFOUNDATION.