By Olukayode Kolawole
Thinking of your next holiday destination this year? Here are four (4) reasons Calabar International Carnival should be on your priority list.
Come December 2016, Calabar will bubble once again, as it does every last quarter of the year, with its signature event, “The Calabar International Street Carnival.”
The carnival has always played host to thousands of tourists from around the world. So, if you have to be in Calabar during this period, it must either be to catch a glimpse of the atmospheric carnival or to revel in the colourful display of traditions & traditional dances. Or else, you would bite a finger for not visiting at this time.
The reason is simple: premium and affordable hotels in Calabar and neighbouring cities are usually sold-out during the festivity. Getting a hotel to stay in is always challenging.
To whet your appetite on why you should include Calabar carnival on your priority list, here are a few review of some of the major highlights from the carnival last year.
The Street Parade:
The carnival went a notch higher when the governor of the state flagged off the commencement of the street parade: a local competitive arm of the carnival parading the traditional five bands: Freedom Band, Bayside Band, Passion4 Band, Seagul Band and Master Blasta Band. Richly costumed girls led each group, accompanied by music blasting trucks and acrobatic dancers, revelers lined the carnival routes, cheering up the participants. Masquerades, celebrities, notable disc jockeys and exquisite floats offered some side attractions.
The carnival played host to over 1,000 power bikers drawn from Nigeria, China, Canada, Australia, Germany, the US, Philippines, Togo, Ghana and Benin Republic in the maiden edition of the Calabar Bikers’ Parade. In a 12-kilometre ride, the bikers performed different types of stunts to the admiration of ecstatic crowd that lined up along the carnival route to catch a glimpse of the extreme riders.
There was also an international competition of culture and dance. Foreign groups that participated in the international competition which took place at the UJ Esuene Stadium, included the Flamingo of Spain, Italian Flag Twirlers, Drumming Wonders of Burundi, Urukereza of Rwanda, Ghana cultural Troupe, Masai Dancers from Kenya, Vai Vai Samba of Brazil and Passion-4 from Nigeria.
Top Nollywood megastars & fashion label owners were also in attendance to participate in the fashion show and mingle with other tourists. There was a boat regatta, cultural events and family-friendly entertainment too.
See you at the carnival in December!