Chelo Loco Carnival Group
Here's to Mena Erasmus
There is always an unmistakable touch of madness and humor to everything there is. ‘Chelo Loco Carnival Group’ is that touch to Carnival of Aruba.
It were Mena Erasmus and Lucas Croes, who became the first group leader, that founded the group for over than thirty years ago by the name of ‘Hoffi Prikichi’. ‘Hoffi’ is like a little cozy garden with plants, flowers and birds. ‘Prikichi’ (Aruban parakeet) is a bird that is like a crossing between a love bird and a green parrot. Lucas and Mena liked to joke around a lot making people laugh. Mena took the group over when Lucas retired from Carnival participation and kept changing the name but always adding the word ‘loco’ meaning ‘crazy’. There was ‘Tiki Loco’ which means just a little bit of madness, to ‘Poco Loco’ meaning some serious mad stuff, to ‘Loco Loco’ which is perfect madness! In all this developments in the group’s name and some in their concept there has always been one underlying stable factor. The factor of humorous madness giving the group the opportunity to address serious social, political and cultural matters in a hilarious way.
In 2014 ‘Loco Loco Carnival Group’ with Mena were seen for the last time on the road during the parades. Later in that same year Marcelo (Chelo) Croes takes over the group preparing for a last minute participation with the Carnival 2015 parades. In 2018 Marcelo pays tribute to Mena Erasmus who has passed away in 2017.
Mena Erasmus relates to those earlier times when she would organize elections for Carnival Queens in all age groups: adults, youth and children. This she did in her district of Paradera and the elections were held at the Caiquetio Club. During many years these elections have drawn much attention and there were many candidates competing for the title of queen in each of the three catagories. These elections were mainly based on creativity and at low budget concept. Based on this concept the elections in the districts have built a long tradition of carnival queen elections.
Things have changed and today’s Queen’s Elections are high budgetted with luxurious shows included that discourage many potential participants because of a lack of funds or a generous sponsorships for that matter. For these money reasons families with a less than average income won’t be able to invest the basic required amount for their children to participate in the Carnival queen elections.
In Mena’s opinion the Carnival queen elections should include district queen elections again, like before. Centralized high cost queen elections exclude many deserving candidates for money reason. If not at the Official Carnival Queen Elections held, a representation of the different districts and their queens during parades will result in a bigger participation and more fun and enjoyment for all especially for the children and youth.