Calabar Carnival is unarguably the biggest street party in Nigeria. It plays host to visitors from all parts of the country and the world. Every year, the Cross River State Government organizes the Calabar Carnival to the admiration and cheers of millions of people. Ever since its inception in 2005, the Calabar Carnival has grown from just a state festival to a national brand.
The carnival was an idea thought of and developed by former Cross Rivers State Governor, Mr. Donald Duke.
Mr. Donald Duke’s vision was to see that Cross Rivers state becomes the a hub for tourism and hospitality in Africa.
It was eventually inaugurated in 2004 with pomp and pageantry.
The Calabar Carnival is always a beehive of activities; some of the major events slated for the carnival are;
In as much as the festival is a time to get loose, one should also take extra precaution as regards safety and obeying all rules intended for the festival. Some of these tips include;
This is one of the highlights of the competition. Usually cultural bands from different states of the country would go in a procession from streets to street to the admiration of all.
The cultural bands put on very colourful costumes which are made in the country. Visitors usually line up on the streets to watch this colourful display from the bands.
Watch the video below.
There is no doubt that Calabar Carnival has created enormous wealth for the people of the state since its inception in 2004. Here are some of the contributions to the state.
The Cross River state government has been able to generate sufficient funds through various companies and organization that acts as brand to the festival. Some of its major sponsors are Dangote, First bank, Zenith bank, Ecobank etc
Ever since its inception the festival has created direct and indirect jobs to thousands of people in the state.
The festival has helped to strengthen the bonds that exist among people of the state through shared activities.
The carnival begins from a 12 km walk starting from the UJ Esuene Stadium passing through Mary Slessor road to Ndidem Usang Iso and MCC Road before finally ending at the stadium.
The carnival band is made up of the Kings and Queen, the Children Band and the Adult and main band.
The band includes the:
The bands are open to all Nigerians and non-Nigerians. Each band develops its own concept for the procession. Unique costumes are developed and worn by participating bands. Members of the band engage in different display to the cheers of everyone.
The bands are judged by experts based on the following factors; float, bands on the move, costumes and make up, interpretation of theme and best reflection of the carnival spirit.
The winner is selected on how best she performs on these score points.
The carnival is usually attended by all age groups from young to old. Attendees could either be band members participating in the band or spectators enjoying the show.
The spectators are usually made up of three groups; the overnighters, residents and day trippers.
The overnighters are people who spend at least one night at the events, the day trippers are spectators who attended the events but did not stay overnight while the residents are spectators who came from their different homes to watch the carnival.
All these three groups are what make the Calabar Carnival such an interesting event to attend.
The Calabar Carnival is gradually growing to become a global festival attended by millions of people. In 2015 the festival played host to some of the biggest carnival brand in the world.
Vai Vai Samba, Brazil’s biggest carnival band was present. Also Spain’s carnival band, the Flamenco performed at the event. The Flamenco and the Vai Vai Samba are one of the most glamorous bands in the world. They parade a bevy of beautiful ladies clad in specially designed attires.
Italy will be represented by the Flag Twirlers while there will be lovely performance from the Circus Oasis of France.
Carnival Troupe of Belize another popular band in Europe will bring their distinction and flavor to the festival.
The republic of China also features in the spectacle with their acrobatic band.
From Africa there is the Urukerereza of Rwanda, who captivates the audience with their drums together with bands from Zimbabwe, Kenya and Ghana.
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