Congratulations to SWS: Our first Junior Queen of Carnaval is Merissa Lyons!
Sistas-wit-Style was formed by 3 dynamic pre-teens, and has grown to become a very large contingent.


Merissa Lyons, CEO, Valencia Newton, COO, and Kianna Rachal, CFO, now in High School, are the founders. Their manager is Anabelle Goodridge, Merissa's mom, who is originally from the Caribbean. Through her, they learned about the culture and music of Trinidad. When Merissa was little, she participated in Mas Makers Massive. When the other girls got a taste of that beautiful Trini music and dance, it was just a matter of time before they decided to start their own group. Once a year was just not enough. They enjoyed it so much, that they founded the Caribbean Folk Performing Dance Company when they were 9 and 10 years old. They now teach dance at six different elementary and high schools in Oakland, as well as giving classes every Saturday. They have mobilized tremendous support from the community, and are committed to making a difference in their community by showing that there is a positive side to what kids are doing in East Oakland. They have the kind of commitment and focus rarely seen in kids that age. Last year, they launched their contingent, Sistas wit Style, in San Francisco Carnaval, and won prizes for costumes and performance. This year, their theme is "Sweet Dreams", a group of children dreaming what they want to be when they grow up. Merissa, Kianna and Valencia choreographed all of the dances.
The girls handle every aspect of running their contingent, although they are quick to name the many people who have given them support.

Congratulations to the Princess of Carnaval 2006, Mayela Carrasco, from Loco Bloco!!!
Loco Bloco will be dancing to a fusion of Afro-Brazilian, Hip-Hop, and Cuban rhythms. The largest youth-based contingent in the parade, they have won top carnaval prizes, including 3 times Grand Prize Winners. Loco Bloco is a performing arts program for children, teens and young adults rooted in the multi-ethnic Mission District of San Francisco.They provide young people with a hands on introduction to musical, dance and theater traditions of the Americas, as well as access to express themselves on stages internationally. Founded in 1994, Loco Bloco has provided thousands of youth from low-income communities free classes in percussion, dance and theater. "Loco Bloco's programs provide youth consistent contact with community-based artists of color who act as teachers, mentors and role models, empowering youth to make healthy choices about their lives. We feel both proud and grateful to work with youth and families in our community, and to bring forth amazing young artists." They will be performing on stage at the festival later that day.

Congratulations to the Junior King of Carnaval, Alex
2006-SFRoyals24.jpg Hernandez of Mixtiso Latin Hip Hop!!!
Mixtiso Latin Hip Hop, directed by Vanessa

 Mosqueda, Queen of Carnaval 2005, now has 2 people of royalty! Mixtiso, will dance to a little bit of everything: lots of cumbia, some dance hall Caribbean, traditional Mexican, reggaeton hip hop, and even some American Indian fancy dancing. Vanessa says "my choreography Mixtiso is an extension of my body, soul, and heart. We give thanks to all indigenous people, and all the universe. We give thanks for another day in life."

Congratulations to the Bay Area Caribbean Connection: the new Prince of Carnaval is Tymothi Hall!
Congratulations are in order for BACC and its band member, Tymothi Hall, who recently won the San Francisco Bay Area Carnaval's first ever Prince of Carnaval title. Tymothi paraded and danced his way into the hearts of the audience and the judges alike during the April 22 contest, under the watchful eye of BACC’s band leader Wendell Seifert and the band’s dance choreographer Oneida Cordovia.

According to Seifert, BACC’s purpose is to unify different
2006-SFRoyals13.jpg cultures by introducing and connecting Bay Area Citizens with the colorful and multicultural Caribbean traditions that will transcend to future generations. Seifert believes that this coming together of cultures, ethnicities and generations is an excellent example of the legacy that is Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival. Through his efforts and activities with Bay Area Caribbean Connection, Seifert pursues this vision by making positive contributions to the culture and providing opportunities for young and old alike to enjoy a truly memorable Carnival experience. In keeping with this goal, Seifert and BACC invites all fun-loving people, die-hard Masqueraders or first-timers – local or visitors, and all those in between, to become part of the Bay Area Caribbean Connection family. In his own words, Seifert proudly states “We sincerely welcome you to the best time ever!”

SF CHRONICLE Features the Contest
A WOW-sized color foto on cover of B section!
The display of great talent was rewarded with a glowing story by's Reyhan Harmanci,
Most festivals, especially ancient ones, create a "time out of time" when fantasies suppressed through the rest of the year by immersion in labor are given light.

Youth Movement Records  (YMR) will participate in the first-ever Junior King & Queen/Prince & Princess Contest on April 22 and then join in a major hip-hop "battle dance" at the Carnaval Festival. Oakland-based YMR engages youth in producing CD's, planning and creating performances and teaching skills in marketing, promotion, finance, and management. YMR is dedicated to serving as "a counter-punch to the crass images targeted at youth through the mainstream media."

Carnaval Cultural Arts Education Program will see the participation of 14 different schools in 2006 Carnaval as we go from the classroom leading to the  Carnaval SF Grand Parade. Teachers will use the opportunity to educate their students about the cultural history emanating from Africa and its profound influence on the music and dance of the Americas and around the globe. 

These are the first ever Carnaval San Francisco Bay Area
Junior King & Queen and Prince and Princess of Carnaval.
Rulers forever of their generation in the month of May 2006.


First Junior King and Queen/Prince and Princess Competition Debuts

March 1, 2006
Four new members of the Carnaval family will be selected April 22 and take their places in the official royal entourage at the head of the Carnaval parade this year. A teenage Junior King and Junior Queen will be joined by a Prince and Princess from the six to 12 age category and sit atop the float of 2006 Grand Marshal "Dora the Explorer."

The contest takes place at 3:00 pm on Saturday, April 22 at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission Street, (between 24th & 25th Streets), San Francisco. Competition is expected to be strong as several Carnaval groups have entered their own candidates and entries is expected to number more than twenty.

"It is thoroughly fitting that we inaugurate our royal competition for youth and children in a year when our Carnaval theme is 'Land of Childhood Dreams' and Dora the Explorer is our Grand Marshal," commented Carnaval Advisory Committee chair Ann Blankenship.

Carnaval organizers are looking for children and youth who can perform in Carnaval style. Contestants for Prince and Princess must be ages six to 12 years. Contestants for Junior King and Queen must be ages 13 to 17 years. [Anyone 18 and over is welcome to compete in the King and Queen Contest to be held April 1.]

A mandatory orientation for the junior contestants and their parents or guardians will be held on Saturday, March 11 at the Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc. (MNC)   Auditorium, 362 Capp Street (between 18th & 19th Streets), San Francisco.  Application fee for the contest is $15 for one candidate and one parent/guardian. All contestants must pre-register.

The Carnaval Advisory Committee of volunteers is seeking donations of scholarships, saving bonds, computers, educational toys, gift certificates for books to serve as contest prizes. Donations may be sent to MNC. Please contact Karol An Meier, Event Coordinator,  at (415) 920-0122.

Tickets to the competition are $10 for adults, $5 for youth/seniors and free for children six and under. Advance tickets are available at MNC or Mission Cultural Center and at the door of the event.

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Presenting Carnaval 2006 Royalty