Calabar Carnival: Bands Light Up the Streets in a Cultural Extravaganza

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Calabar, Nigeria, witnessed a spectacular display of culture and vibrancy on Thursday as the ongoing Calabar Carnival reached its pinnacle with a dazzling parade featuring bands adorned in a kaleidoscope of colours. Spanning an impressive 12 kilometers, the parade captivated a diverse audience, including residents, tourists, and eager revelers.

Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River officially inaugurated the parade, underscoring his ambition to propel the Calabar Carnival into an international brand. The governor emphasized the strategic goal of positioning Cross River as the premier tourism destination in Nigeria, leveraging the cultural richness showcased during the carnival.

Tourists from Lagos, echoing the sentiments of many attendees, hailed the Calabar Carnival as the largest street party in Nigeria. Adebayo Adeyanju, a medical practitioner attending with his family, deemed the event a spectacular spectacle and urged the Cross River government to further develop tourism potentials for year-round activities.

Clara Frederick, a Canadian visitor, expressed her admiration for the warm reception by Calabar residents and conveyed her intention to return for the 2024 edition, highlighting the positive impact of the carnival on the city’s international appeal.

Reports from the Press detailed heightened security measures across the city, especially along the carnival route, a response to the tragic incident of 2022. Stringent precautions were implemented to prevent a recurrence, prompted by an unfortunate incident where a vehicle entered the carnival route recklessly, resulting in casualties.

The heart of the carnival lies in the hands of the participating bands tasked with interpreting this year’s theme, “The Season of Sweetness.” Judged by a panel, the winning band stands to receive a coveted cash prize. Among the notable contenders are the Master Blaster Band, Seagull Band, Diamond Band, Bayside Band, Passion Four Band, and Calas Vegas Band.

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