Cape Verdean Festival returns to Onset Saturday

Ryan Richardson

Tiny Lopes is hoping for good weather this weekend.

With all of the vendor spaces sold out and the entertainment lined-up, the weekend promises to bring a lot of people down to the village Saturday for the annual Cape Verdean Festival. Last year’s event drew large crowds to listen to Cape Verdean music, eat Cape Verdean food and shop for items with Cape Verdean flair.

Of course, that’s not why members of the Cape Verdean community come from all across the country, as well as the world, to stay in Onset.

“There are a lot of family reunions around that weekend,” Lopes, the public relations chairman for the festival committee, said.

To a certain extent, the whole day is like an extended family reunion, bringing together far-flung portions of a community – not to mention lots of people who aren’t Cape Verdean – to have fun and learn about the things that bind them together.

The appeal of that ambience is evident in some of the hotel bookings. As Lopes was talking about the performers at this year’s event, he fielded a few calls from people wondering where they could get a hotel room because most of Onset had already been booked. Visitors are now looking to Buzzards Bay and Plymouth for places to stay.

For those that aren’t touting the event as an excuse for a family reunion, there’s still a lot to be said for the 2008 event. Musicians, like local vocalist Danielle Andrews and Gutty Duarte from Florida, will come from near and far to play Cape Verdean music. Most of the artists are up and coming, so it’s a great chance for them to gain exposure while providing the festival with quality talent.

Then there’s the food. With 18 vendors ready to sling just about anything, and several great restaurants only a short distance away in the village, there’s certainly something for everyone. The vendors do very well with all of the foot traffic, and the festival always manages to bring back some of the old and attract some of the new.