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Cross River

Calabar Carnival in Nigeria, also known as “Africa’s Biggest Street Party", was created as part of the vision of making Cross River State, the number one tourist destination for Nigerians and tourist all over the world. The carnival started in 2000 as a Street Parade, as one of the Cross River State Annual Christmas Festival. The first Parade showcased 'major Landmarks of the State such as the famous export Commodity - Cocoa Pod, the low land Gorilla of the last rain forest in West Africa, the Leopard of the Ekpe Cultural group, the old Residency building which once served as the seat of Government of the entire Colonial Nigeria, the Mary Slessor Caravan, Monoliths and more.

      The climax of the carnival is the exciting and colorful, attracting over 100,000 costumed revelers and over a million local and international spectators. The Street Party is now the ideal tool for tourism and ultimately Socio-economic development. The Carnival has continued to be one of the major drivers of Economic activity in Cross River State.

      The carnival features procession that is beautifully decorated trucks of each of the bands that involves 5 major competing bands and 10 non-competing bands. The major bands are comprised of approximately 10,000 revelers each, including up to five kings and queens wearing large-scale costumes that interpret the annual theme and set the tone for the other outfits. Sections of the costumed revelers create a riot of colors and sparkle, along a 12km route accomplished by live music, DJs, well-decorated floats and steel bands. The Carnival parade terminates at the UJ Esuene Stadium which is the final end point of the competition for 'Band of the Year' in various categories.

         Such decorations do animate life in consonance with the central theme for the year. Often, animals, history, environment, nature, heroic achievements etc, are portrayed artistically on the carnival float.  International artist like, the late LuckyDube, Akon, Fat Joe, Joe, young Jazzy, Nelly, Kirk Franklin, and many more has thrilled the large crowd during the carnival. The Carnival Route is about 12km stretch and offers it huge venturing and branding opportunities.

The activities of the event includes the following

-An Essay Competition for Secondary and tertiary institutions.

-Carnival Calabar football competition (The Carni-Cal Cup)

-Traditional drumming, arts, crafts and food festival

-Adults' and children's dry runs (the dress rehearsal for Carnival)


-Band fetes (Mbre Mbre)

-Senior and Junior Kings and Queens Competition

-Carnival Calabar Queen Pageant grand finale incorporating the Mary Slessor Golf Charity Dinner

-Children's Carnival and Christmas party

-Cultural Carnival

-Carnival Calabar Adults Costume Parade.

         2010 edition of the carnival was exciting and fun with live performances from Nigeria’s finest musicians like Duncan Mighty, 9ice, Weird Mc, Nigga raw, flavour, Tuface Idibia, Psquare, Dbanj, Mo’ hits crew, Timaya, etc treating the crowd to popular hit jamz. What would you expect from a fun hungry massive crowd when Jesse Jags, Banky W, KC Fresh, Temitayo George, Waje, Sunny Neji, Sasha, Jmartins or Naeto C hits the stage? The word “fun” does not even suffice to describe the feeling in the air when musicians like Sauce kid, Kelly Handsome, Sound Sultan, OJB Jezreel, Yemi sax, African China, Blacky, Darey, Bracket, Ikechukwu, spydaman , mounts the Calabar festival stage. It’s simply awesome to sit back and watch Shaggy perform hit songs like, it wasn’t me, Mr. Lover, Mr. Bombastic, etc. There was also gospel night out were glorious performances by Grammy award winning Mary Mary, Jamaica’s gospel reggae minister Chevelle Franklin, Lara George, Mbaseki Ayombi, Sammy Okposo, and Kingsley Agbor participated.

   Calabar Festival is indisputably the biggest and longest multi-dimensional, multi-faceted tourism leisure and entertainment program in West Africa. Thirty-two days of exciting events, colorful activities and unprecedented yearly participation and seductive ambiance in the city is truly special, full of joy, camaraderie and friendship.

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Updated 6 Years ago

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Tags:     Calabar Carnival (AFRICANíS BIGGEST STREET PARTY)