Thursday, November 15, 2012

West Indies Veterinary Conference Brimstone Hil Closing Ceremony

On this past Friday, the West Indies Veterinary Conference held their closing ceremony for the week long event at Brimstone Hill Fortress.

 When we found out that the closing event was going to be held at the fortress, we definitely had to attend.

The fortress is probably the number one site to see in St. Kitts. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most impressive forts I've ever visited.

Having this 300 year old fort as the location and backdrop for the event was really amazing.

Once again we rode the shuttle to the event mostly because we weren't sure our scooters would make it up the steep narrow road leading up to the fortress.

At the top of the road we finally reached the party. What a cool place to put up a tent! I didn't think there was a tent of that size on the entire island.

It's a good thing they did have the tent set up because it poured down rain but we all stayed dry.

To the event looked like the mending of two different time periods. On one hand you had a 300 year old fortress built by slaves and on the other hand you had a massive party tent with guests dressed like they were going to a Hollywood premier.

I didn't realize that Ross students and some faculty look forward to this event every year as one of the best opportunities to dress up. Well, I did wear a polo shirt, but also wore shorts.

I climbed up the steep steps to the main section of the fortress just before the sun set to snap the following pictures.

You can see the rain moving in.

 The inside of the tent was decorated with some neat hanging lights and chair coverings.

After lots of picture taking by a professional photographer and dinner was served and I finally got to taste some "real" beef again. The beef was the most tender beef I've had since I left Pennsylvania, where I raised my own beef cattle.

During our dinner we listened to the sounds of a really awesome steel pan band. I love the unique sound of the steel pan drums.

The funniest element of the band was that they had almost identical shirts as the Ross Security workers. Someone at our table joked that they now knew what Ross Security did after work for their moonlighting job.

As soon as the band stopped playing some drums started beating and we were all surprised to see stilt walkers enter the tent. Now that's cool.

I actually saw people trip on chairs walking around the tent. Imagine being up on 10 foot stilts. But, these guys were amazing, and it definitely wasn't their first stilt walking show.

Everyone roared with excitement and maybe some fear when a young girl reached up to the stilt walker, he bent down, and pulled her up into his arms with incredible ease. Wow!

In total, there were four stilt walkers. The one in the right of the picture to the left was probably only a teenager. As the music played the stilt walkers performed an awesome dance routine together, sometimes only hobbling on one stilt.

These guys were darn good at what they did. The picture at the right gives you an idea of scale. I'm glad I don't have to shop for pants with that inseam length.
Dance Routine! Check out those Kittitian themed stilts.
Below I added a short video clip of the stilt walkers dancing. I hope you can see it. If you can't see it please feel free to leave comments and I'll try to fix it for future posts.

The shindig finally came to a close with fireworks. In the U.S. you usually can't get this close to fireworks anymore, but some people said they could feel ashes falling down on them from the sky.

Other spectators climbed up the steep hill, as seen in the picture below and were right at the fireworks' blooming plume of smoke. I probably would've climbed up there myself if I would've realized you could get up there.

The fireworks were pretty lengthy and may have been as good as some of the small towns' fireworks shows in the U.S.

I tried my best to get a night shot of the fort all lit up. It didn't turn out as good as would've liked but it was still pretty neat.
Brimstone Hill Fortress lit up at night

I included another short video clip of the fireworks. Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to flip the video right side up, but you get the idea.

The closing celebration was everything we expected and more. I was told by some returning participants that the night has been nearly the same show for the past few years, so hopefully next year they'll change it up a bit.

The West Indies Veterinary Conference was a busy, fun-filled week and I was happy to be able to attend.