Nothing speaks joy like music. Loud, ferocious music blasting through speakers. When you first walk into the streets of Calabar Municipal on Carnival day you are elated. The music, the clusters of people, the colour of feathers and large obstructive floats and costumes.
The countdown to the day’s festivities starts at the beginning of December when the entire carnival month of December is kicked off. The street carnival is the highlight of the entire event as a procession of over 2w million participants and followers march round 12km celebrating the uniqueness and creativity of each participating band.
As the carnival kicked off on the28th of December 2019 the11/11 open space and Mary Slessor round-about were filled with well-wishers and supporters yearning to see the costumes of the year. Themed, ’Africanism’’ the carnival sought to be a reflection of all that we are as a continent. Our struggles, our wins, our specialties, and all our blessings. As Governor, Prof Ben Ayade kicked off the procession supported by many dignitaries within the state and visiting including the UBA E.D, Oliver Alawuba followed by the 5 main bands; Freedom Band, Bayside, Seagulls band, Master Blaster and all-time winner, Passion 4 depicting bright colours, regimented and rigorous dance moves and plenty of side-attractions.
ED Oliver Alawuba, Presidential Candidate of ACPNHOPE, Prof Oby Ezekwesili, The Governor’s wife, Dr. Linda Ayade and the Governor, Prof. Sen. Benedict Ayade. At the official flag up of Carnival Calabar 2018.
The UBA Band and float
One of the major highlights was the superfluous floats that are designed from scratch and all the beautifully decorated banners and street art. The United Bank for Africa had a very distinctive presence as our blimp soared above the sky at the Marian road center and the band lit with beautiful dancers and performers. Leo was also very present, shining tall on the float blasting music and familiar sounds to the audience.
The beauty of the entire procession cannot truly be defined as what you see in pictures is only a highlight of the energy truly depicted through the walk. With food and drink breaks, costume repairs, bandleader instructions, and a rooting fan club, this street party is one that truly identifies the strength and persistence of our African heritage.
Every single individual should touch Calabar in December, this is one street party you would be thankful you rocked!!