For some, Good Friday means going to church and reflecting on the sacrifices of Christ, while for others it means spending the day enjoying family time at home or on the beach. However, for one Plymouth resident, Good Friday is the day to keep a vision alive.
Tessa Alfred, a former Tobago House of Assembly Interdepartment Carnival Queen, continues a vision which began three years ago. It was primarily to score a passing grade in an Events Planning Program. That vision has become a highly anticipated Easter event.
The Easter Hat Affair Basket Extravaganza Street Show and Fair see keen competition from boys and girls all decked out in Easter-themed formal attire.
What makes the event unique is that a formal event is hosted in an informal space as Alfred takes one of the busiest intersections in Plymouth and blocks off the traffic thereby transforming the roadway into a runway. Alfred, who leads a performing arts group called the Plymouth Unique Performers, said the event is well patronised from persons throughout the island. “It has grown to become a unique event and every year children and parents from as far as Argyle, Lowlands and Scarborough look forward to participating.”
She went on to say that hosting the event has its share of challenges. “It was challenging but I never let one moment stop me, it always has been a challenge because Plymouth on a whole has a negative association so getting stakeholders to come onboard and assist with providing funding or providing services is an uphill task.”She said she never lets those challenges daunt her or slow her down. “We are in our third year and by God’s health and strength we will continue to grow,” Alfred said.
“As a proud product of Plymouth I am proud to share my vision with the entire world as hosting this type of event fuels my passion,” she added.
“I like fashion, I like modelling and I like children on a whole so anything to really ignite that positive spirit and push them in any way possible I am onboard.”She said she likes helping children build their self-esteem and develop a voice for themselves. “I think that kids should be able to go anywhere and represent themselves and their family by speaking and carrying themselves with confidence.”
One of the contestants, 9-year-old Dachell McIntosh, said she looks forward to the event. “This year I am portraying an Easter wedding. I love to take part in the event because I can dress up in pretty dresses and big hats.”
Another contestant ten-year-old Joshua Kimraj said he also liked the competition.“I am the king of candy land and I am here to make all the kids happy by giving them candy.”
As Alfred continues to make children happy and pursue her passions she plans to hold a similar event soon. For the July/ August schools' vacation, she will host a performing arts Camp. She said this will enable her team of 12 members to continue to develop their character performances and dance skills for Carnival and the Tobago Heritage Festival. The Plymouth Unique Performer will also participate in the Prime Minister's Best Village Competition.