Marchers take part in a torchlight procession to kick off the 2017 August Emancipation Festival. (Photo: NGOVOU GYANG)

A scaled-down, budget-friendly August Emancipation Festival will be the goal for the new Festivals and Fairs Committee Executive Board, whose appointment was announced April 25.

Returning Chairman Trefor Grant will head up a committee consisting of Deputy Chairman Xavyrna Samuels; Treasurer Nashema Smith-McKenzie; and Public Relations Officer Lynette Harrigan.

Education and Culture Minister Myron Walwyn said in a press release that the government gave the committee “strict instructions” to ensure that the festival remains within budget, and that the festivities will be scaled down from recent years.

“As the territory continues on its journey towards recovery, it is important for us to remember the vital role that the acknowledgment and continuation of cultural events play,” he said. “The Emancipation Festival is ingrained into the history of this territory and every effort should be made to ensure that it is continued — even if it isn’t on the grand scale that we have grown accustomed to.”

He noted that longstanding traditional events such as the Miss BVI Pageant, the Rise and Shine Tramp, the Emancipation Service, the August Monday Parade and village entertainment will remain.

Other board members will include Secretary and Culture Officer Luce Hodge-Smith; Permanent Secretary Representative Brenda Lettsome Tye; BVI Tourist Board Representative Carnel Cline; Virgin Gorda Easter Festival Committee Representative Lyra George; Carrot Bay Cultural Fiesta Representative Judy-Ann Smith; East End/Long Look Festival Committee Representative Sandra Potter-Warrican; Anegada Representative Harella Wheatley; and Jost Van Dyke Representative Ricky Callwood. The rest of the committee consists of Lyndon Hodge, Ottley Hodge, Marvin Blyden, Stuart Donovan, Katherine Smith, Samuel Hodge and Dr. Richard Georges.

Ms. Hodge-Smith urged potential volunteers to contact the Department of Culture at