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.
Mena Erasmus and Lucas Croes founded the group for over more than thirty years ago by the name of Hoffi Prikichi. Lucas became the first group’s leader. ‘Hoffi’ is like a little cozy garden with plants, flowers and birds. ‘Prikichi’ (Aruban parakeet) is a bird that looks like a crossing between a love bird and a green parrot. Lucas and Mena liked to joke around a lot, to make people laugh. Mena took the group over when Lucas retired from Carnival participation. The name of the group kept changing but always the word ‘loco’ was added. ‘Loco’ meaning ‘crazy’ or ‘mad’. 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! There has always been one underlying stable factor through all these developments in the group’s name and some in their concept . The factor being 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 took over the group preparing for a last minute participation with the Carnival 2015 parades. In 2018 Marcelo pays tribute to Mena Erasmus who had passed away in 2017.
The following text is taken from Bacchanal 2014: Mena Erasmus relates to those earlier times when she organized elections for Carnival Queens in all age groups: adults, youth and children. Mena did this 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 age categories. These elections were mainly based on creative ideas and at a low budget. Based on these ideas 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 budgeted with luxurious shows included, that discourage many potential candidates. Candidates that feel that they don’t have a fair chance because of a lack of monetary 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 Carnival Queen Elections exclude many deserving candidates for money reason. So if not at the Official Carnival Queen Elections, another idea would be a representation of the different districts and their queens during parades that will result in a bigger participation and more fun and enjoyment for all, especially for the children and youth.