Lagos â€” The organisers of Carnival Calabar last week updated the media on its preparation for this year’s event. The commission explained that there are lots of innovations and new programmes in this year’s carnival, writes MARY EKAH
Carnival Calabar, also tagged “Africa’s Biggest Street Party,” promises to be even bigger and better this year, says Mrs Elenda Osima Dokubo, executive secretary of the Carnival Commission as she calls for an increased participation from the public and private sector. The Carnival presents a perfect platform from brand visibility for consumer and market awareness. The Commission has drawn out a full time table of various activities aimed at entertaining the millions of spectators within and outside the State, and boosting industry for all stakeholders.
New initiatives have also been introduced for the very first time. There will be a football competition amongst the five competing carnival bands – Seagull, Passion 4, Masta Blasta, Bayside and Freedom. This is slated to hold later in the year. The competition, tagged “Carnival Cup 2009,” will be an annual event in the Carnival Calendar. Another novel initiative will take the shape of a Local Drumming Competition, which will be held among the local communities later on in the year, and will be hosted in collaboration with the Local Government Councils.
“Our desire is to include more aspects of local heritage and culture and at the same time strengthen the capacity of our locals to participate in an economically beneficial way,” Osima-Dokubo said.
Other activities lined up for the year according to their work plan, include the second edition of Essay Writing Competition which will involve both secondary school and tertiary students, and this will commence in few weeks. These competitions are aimed at resuscitating the reading culture amongst the youths of the State as well as inculcating the carnival culture. This will be aired all over the media. The lucky winners will go home with cash prizes.
The adult and children dry runs will take place between October-December. Three dry runs have been planned for the last week of October, November and in the first week of December. These dry runs are street rehearsals and are usually a means of sensitising the public towards the main event, slated for December 26 and 27.
Other events are the Carnival Calabar Queen Pageant (CCQ) where the lucky winner walks away with the star prize of a car, N2 million and other pecks. She is also a spokesperson for MACA, an acronym for Mothers Against Child Abandonment- an initiative of the Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke. The aim of MACA is to eradicate the alarming rates of child abandonment in Cross River State. The Carnival Queen is therefore a role model for her peers and speaks to young boys and girls on the benefits of self preservation and the dangers of sex before marriage. CCQ and MACA have recorded successes from this programme.
Other competitions such as the Junior and Senior Kings and Queens Competition, an elaborate showcase of creativity, dexterity and splendour, which involves the competing bands, schools and even individuals will take place during these periods. “The future is bright, and if we go by the current enquiries of various people and organisations writing to be a part of this year’s Carnival family, then we can say that the future of our tourism sector is safe,” Dokubo stressed.