Saturday, 4 January 2014

Calabar carnival! Nollywood steals the show

Every Christmas, millions of tourists and fun seekers across the world throng the ancient city of Calabar, Cross River State,to catch a glimpse of the annual Calabar carnival. And last year’s Christmas was no exception.The carnival, which kicked off from Saturday, November 30, with the lighting of Christmas Tree ran through January 1. It was nothing less than the popular carnival da Rua in terms of colour, artistry and love-filled atmosphere.
Many attendees described it as “a memorable blend of culture, fun, adventure and creativity ability of the people as represented by the five bands of the carnival.

“But besides, the streets parade with makeshift costumes, crowded stadium, happy jamboree and soul rowing jollity that took the centre stage, graceful participation of Nollywood stars in last year’s carnival indisputably helped to add glamour and sophistication to the annual event.

Prior to the establishment of Nollywood band as an addition to the already existing carnival bands including, Bayside, Passion 4, Masta Blasta, Seagull and Freedom band, movie stars have been part of the carnival in the recent past.But this year, they featured prominently than ever in most of the carnival activities as they stole the show.

At UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar venue of the carnival grand finale, the likes of Tonto Dikeh, Funke Akindele, Uti Nwachukwu, Fred Amata, Imeh Bishop Umoh, Mr. John Okafor a.k.a Mr Ibu, Nkem Owoh(Osofia), KC Ejelonu, Linda Ejiofor, Gideon Okeke, Enyinna Nwigwe, OC Ukeje and several others were the cynosure of attraction.

Accompanying Senator, Florence Ita-Giwa’s led Seagull band and Cross River State First Lady’s Master Blasta band, the movie stars caused a stir as they displayed alongside the bands in different forms ranging from their colours, costumes, choreography, music and dance drama to the amusement of the cheering spectators who thronged the venue to catch a glimpse of the event.

Upon sighting Mr. Ibu, the crowd ran after him, just as shout of “Osofia in Calabar’ filled the air. Also, the sight of Tonto Dikeh was pleasing to the over one million participants who were eager to meet the controversial actress.

The stars also participated in the street party. While the street party which was declared opened by the state governor, Liyel Imoke lasted, the stars were not found missing in action.

Just as the people who flooded the 14 kilometres carnival route stretching into the U. J Esuene Stadium, the terminating point and theatre of communal celebration for the day, till the early hours of Saturday, december 28, felt the sensation and vibration as well as experienced the convivial social atmosphere of the yearly feast, which has been described as the biggest street party ever in the annals of the African continent.

The carnival climaxed last Wednesday, January 1, with a thanksgiving service.

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