By BENJAMIN NJOKU
It was another celebration time last Saturday at the ancient city of Calabar, the Cross River State capital, as the 2014 edition of the Calabar Carnival wrapped up in grand style. The carnival, which was in its 10th year, has grown in leaps and bounds, attracting millions of tourists and fun seekers from across the globe each year.
This year’s edition was no different. Parading beautiful dancers dressed in their hot bikinis, sequins and feathers, this yea’s carnival was as unique as it was memorable. They were the sexy showstoppers of the Africa’s biggest street party. Swaying to beats of pop music, the revellers displayed spectacular costumes from all of the five carnival groups, complete with everything they have got to show to the world.
Like the previous editions, this year’s lived up to its billing as the best street party ever staged in this part of the world.While the festival lasted, the sleepy city literally went up in a blaze of glittering colours. It was indeed, a captivating display of style, exuberance, costumes, beats, imaginative choreography and gorgeous damsels dresed in colorful attires.
Elated Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State and his wife, Obioma Imoke, led the way as they arrived the Millennium Park take off point of the street tour, dressed in ancient Egyptian apparel.
He was accompained by top government functionaries, captains of industry and representatives of the various participating groups. The governor’s arrival ignited the celebration as the bands marched, danced and made different kinds of aesthetic displays to the delight of the teeming crowd of onlookers including tourists.
Kicking off at the Millennium Park, through Mary Slessor Avenue, Marian and IBB and terminating at the U. J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, where cultural troupes were featured, depicting the rich cultural heritage of the country, the 12 kilometer walk seemed endless as the crowd could not have enough of the excitement.
The highpoint of the carnival was at the U.J Esuene Stadium, where the five bands comprising of Master Blaster, Bayside, Seagull, Freedom and Passion 4 Bands entertained the teeming crowd with music, dance, drama and visual creativity, till the wee hours of the morning.
At the end of the day, Master Blaster was declared the Band of the Year, beating Passion 4, which came second, followed by Seagull (3rd), Freedom Band (4th) and Bayside Band(5th ). With the razzmatazz, the frills and the thrills that pervaded the celebration, it was another fruitful year of celebration of the vibrant cultural heriatge of the people.