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Calabar Carnival

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The Carnival Calabar, also known as Africa's Biggest Street Party, has significantly impacted the economy of Cross River State since its establishment in 2004.

Governor Donald Duke's vision for the state was to make it a hub for tourism and hospitality in Nigeria and Africa.

Over the years, Calabar has emerged as a source of pride for Nigeria in tourism, carnival celebrations, and hospitality. The carnival is a distinctive presentation of African heritage, expressed through music, dance, drama, and visual creativity evident in the elaborate floats, costumes, and makeup. Since its inception, the festival has experienced remarkable growth in popularity and scale.

Calabar has now become a preferred tourism destination for families during their annual Christmas breaks, contributing to the Carnival's continuous expansion. The event is currently in its 18th edition, featuring a growing number of both competitive and non-competitive bands. Each year, the carnival adopts a theme to complement its activities, with recent themes including Green Carnival, Ain’t No Stopping Us, Migration, Africanism, Humanity, and Climate Change.
Themes such as Climate Change, also known as Green Carnival, were chosen in 2015 and 2016, emphasizing the State's commitment to preserving its vast forests to combat global warming.

The Carnival Commission Board annually drafts the programs for the Carnival Calabar, introducing new activities into the plan each year. In 2009, the Carnival Cup, a football competition involving the five Carnival Bands (Seagull, Passion 4, Masta Blasta, Bayside, and Freedom Bands), was organised.
Carnival Girls
Carnival Girls
The festival encompasses diverse music performances featuring both national and international artists. Renowned figures such as the late Lucky Dube, Fat Joe, Young Jeezy, Nelly, Kirk Franklin, 2Face Idibia (now 2Baba), P-Square (now Mr. P and Rude Boy), Kizz Daniel, and Iyanya have graced the event.

Additionally, the festival features other performances like the Fashion Show, introduced in 2016, the Beauty pageant (Miss Africa, introduced in 2016), Boat Regatta, Christmas Village, Traditional Dances, and the Annual Ekpe Festival, a yearly celebration that attracts revelers to the State.
Calabar Carnival
From 2004 till date, the Carnival has adopted different and unique themes to match the activities of the year. Apart from the themes being unique, the event also plays its role accordingly.
2008 Theme: Sustaining Earth Treasures through Our Culture
2009 Theme: Land of our Birth, Our People, Our Heritage
2010 Theme: Our Strength and Resilience; the Bedrock of Our Future
2011 Theme: Endless Possibilities
2012 Theme: The New Dawn
2013 Theme: Ain’t No Stopping Us
2014 Theme: Celebration Time
2015 Theme: Climate Change
2016 Theme: Climate Change – Bigger, Bolder, Better
2017 Theme: Migration
2018 Theme: Africanism
2019 Theme: Humanity
2022 Theme: Agro-Industrialisation
2023 Theme: Season of Sweetness