About Carnival Calabar
Carnival Calabar is a unique display of African heritage showcased through music,dance,drama and visual creativity which is reflected in the design of floats, costumes and make-up. Despite the fun and relaxed interpretation of the carnival theme under a strict adjudication process. The result is pure magic - an outpouring of colour, sound and spectacular, umatched by anything else on the continent.
Carnival Calabar takes place on the 26th and 27th December each year, and is the highlight of 32-day Calabar Festival which runs from 30th November to 1st January. The Carnival is the largest cultural festival in Africa with 50,000 costumed revellers, 2 million spectators and an audience of over 50 million television viewer on NTA Network, NTA International, AIT, CRBC and Continental TV(African Magic, Channel O and MTV Base).
Carnival Calabar features 5 major competing bands and 10 non-competing bands. The major bands are comprised of approximately 10,000 revellers 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 these costumed revellers 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 adjudication and end point of hte competition for 'Band of the Year' in various categories. The competition attracts and additional 15,000 seated spectators and 10,000 others in an around the stadium, as well as 50 million TV viewers. The Carnival Parade is the climax in the potpourri of evens offered by the Cross River State Carnival Commission. These includes;
- An Essay Competion 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 Competion
- 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.