Calabar carnival is unarguably the biggest carnival in Nigeria, it hosts visitors from all parts of Nigeria.
Originally organized by the Cross River State Government in 2005, it quickly gained in popularity and became a national brand.
The brain child of the former Cross River state governor, Mr. Donald Duke, it was conceptualized as a tourism hub in Africa.
NOTABLE FACTS AND FIGURES ON THE CALABAR CARNIVAL
• It’s an annual festival held in Calabar, Cross River State.
• It falls annually between the 1st and 31st of December.
• There is a regulatory body for the Calabar Carnival known as the Cross River Carnival Calabar Commission.
• It is tagged as the biggest street party in Africa.
• It features artistes, even international artistes such as Akon, Kirk Franklin, Nelly. It was only headlined by a local artiste in 2013.
MAJOR PROGRAMS HELD DURING THE CARNIVAL
• Music shows
• Cultural displays.
• Boat Regatta
• Fashion shows
• Christmas shows
• Carol Night
SAFETY TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND DURING THE CARNIVAL
• Keep your phone(s) in a safe place to avoid losing them.
• Avoid dehydration and heatstroke by drinking large amounts of water and if harmattan has begun, take along a handkerchief
• Wear comfortable shoes.
• Obey the rules and regulation of band and section leaders to avoid stampedes.
• Wear sunglasses and comfortable clothing
• Avoid alcoholic drinks and drugs during the festival
• Don’t chant anti-government slogans, carry dangerous weapons, avoid littering and indiscriminate urination.
THE CELEBRATION OF THE CALABAR CARNIVAL
The carnival begins with a 12 kilometre walk from the UJ Esuene Stadium with a route that winds through Mary Slessor and MCC road before ending up back at the Stadium.
The Carnival band is made up of various bands including Children’s band, the Seagulls, Master Blaster band and others.
Membership of these bands are open to everyone, irrespective of nationality. Costumes are worn by the participating bands and some members of the audience as well.
The Calabar Carnival is growing to become a global festival attended by millions of festival. In 2015 the festival played host to some of the biggest carnival brands in the world. The Brazilian, Spanish and Italian carnival band made an appearance as well as some other bands.