The city of Calabar came alive on Thursday as the Carnival Calabar festival took center stage with a vibrant parade of bands. The parade, spanning a 12-kilometer carnival route, featured bands adorned in colourful costumes dancing to the delight of a large audience comprising residents, tourists, and fun-seekers.

Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State, declaring the parade open, expressed the ambition to elevate the carnival to an international standard, positioning Cross River as a premier tourism destination in Nigeria.

Tourists from Lagos, speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), hailed the Calabar carnival as Nigeria’s biggest street party. Adebayo Adeyanju, a medical practitioner attending the carnival with his family, praised the spectacle and appealed to the Cross River State government to develop other tourism sites, such as the Obudu Cattle Ranch, Agbokim Waterfall, and Tinapa, to make tourism a year-round attraction.

Clara Frederick, a Canadian visiting Calabar for the first time, expressed her enjoyment and praised the hospitality of the residents, expressing a desire to revisit in 2024.

Security was a top priority during the event, with a significant presence of security officials along the carnival route to prevent incidents like the tragic 2022 accident where lives were lost due to a vehicle driving recklessly into the parade.

The carnival’s theme, “The Season of Sweetness,” was interpreted by various competing bands such as Master Blaster Band, Seagull Band, Diamond Band, Bayside Band, Passion Four Band, and Calas Vegas Band. These bands are set to perform at different adjudication points where they will be judged by a panel, with the winning band receiving a cash prize.

Source: NAN

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