As preparations for the 2018 Carnival Calabar hots up, no fewer than 30 countries are expected at this year’s event.
This was disclosed by the international consultant to the carnival and organiser of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Mr Ikechi Uko in a chat with Nigerian FankNews.
The countries are expected to join guests and participants from across the 25 states of the federation coming for the festival.
The Carnival Calabar reputed as the biggest street party in Africa has been growing in leaps and bounds, attracting participants from countries across the globe.
Meanwhile, the city of Calabar is now wearing a new look with infrastructural upgrade as preparations are on top gear by the various bands to interpret the 2018 Africanism theme of the event.
The Cross State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade in his Carnival message to the people stated that: “This year’s Carnival Calabar and the Festival will tell the African story. Telling the African story from the African perspective. It will bring the global attention to the plight of Africa. This tourism event will go a long way in righting the wrongs done to Africans by foreigners, especially colonial overlords, by portraying the continent and its people as the true owners of the real wealth in the world. I beckon on all to come and be part of history, as we move to change the narratives in an atmosphere fill with ambiance and beauty, from the activity of Africa’s longest festival and Biggest Street party. Let the show begin.”
At the final dry run recently, the various bands showed their level of preparation for the main event, leaving the guests asking for more.
This is because the dry run is also as good as the carnival itself, with the glitz, glamour, colourful costumes and energetic display which often characterised the main event.
In the evening of the third and final dry run, guests were treated to the best of music drama aimed at interpreting the Africanism theme with scintillating performances depicting South African Zulu dancers, Egypt and Nigeria from Cross River, South East and others.
The performances were well rehearsed and wonderfully executed leaving the guests asking for more.
The excitement on the street was heightened by the display of the bikers gang with their wonders on wheels.
The display was a spectacle to behold and a reminder that if the dry run can be this fantastic, then the carnival is going to be grand and exciting.
Commenting on the bikers participation at the 3rd dry, the Chairman of Carnival Calabar Commission, Mr Gabe Onah stated
that four bikers gang are set to add glitz and glamour to the 2018 Calabar Carnival.
Onah stated that the excitement the bikers bring to the show is unimaginable.
He noted that the special effects are the motorcyclists, the power bikers, wonders on wheels and the special vehicles that take on the routes.
The Chairman of the Calabar Carnival Commission said the bikers will be led by the Governor’s Gang called the Scorpio Gang followed by Metallic Knights, followed by Tinapa Knights and the Aviators led by the former Governor of the State, Mr. Donald Duke.
He explained that: “This year we are having an all hype because four bikers gang will be participating, they will be led by the Governor’s Gang called the Scorpio Gang followed by Metallic Knights, followed by Tinapa Knights and the Aviators led by the former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke.
The excitement this brings is unimaginable. You can experience the first dry run by the bikers, they went round the carnival routes and it all went agog”.
A visit to the Festival Village showed it bubbling with activities with different class of people doing one business or the other ranging from food, barbecue, Suya and others making the place a most visit.
For visitors who want to feel a different experience, they can look out for a Catholic Revered Father doing barbecue at the festival village.
In his remarks at the final dry run, the president of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Alhaji Saleh Rabo said the body is in Calabar to underscore and study the event and to see how it can support the Carnival so that it can continue to grow from strength to strength.
Rabo noted that tourism plays a very important role in the economy of any given nation or state, adding that the Federation will continue to support Cross River State because the State has placed Nigerian tourism on the global map.
“This is one of the biggest event that is coming out of Africa sponsored by the Cross River State Government. They are doing this to support the local people because tourism is multifaceted , it helps the local people and the local economy to grow so that the benefit can trickle down and be enjoyed by the general public. We shall continue to support them, we also call on other event managers in the country to copy from the example Cross River State so that we can place Nigeria on the tourism visibility map. This is because, it is only tourism we can use to unify this country and to grow the economy,” Rabo concluded.
Activities lined for the carnival include:Cultural Event like Boat Regatta, Utomo Obong (Christmas Cultural Homage), Cultural Parade, Pageantry like Miss Africa Beauty Pageant and Mr. & Miss Festival Village.
Carnivals: Carnival Calabar – Africa’s Biggest Street Party, Bikers Carnival International, Carnival Band Competition. Awards: Cross River State Movie Awards, Calabar Music Festival & Awards