The Calabar Festival is indisputably the biggest and longest multi-dimensional, multi-faceted tourism leisure and entertainment programme in West Africa. Thirty-two days of exciting events, colorful activities and unprecedented yearly participation by close to a million people from all over the world. A festive season that started at the turn of the Millennium has grown in popularity, scope and participation year in year out. Today, it is arguably Nigeria's strongest tourism brand.
The Cross River State Government has employed this Festival/Carnival over the past years to drive its tourism efforts and provide exposure for its vast tourism sites and infrastructures such as the Obudu Ranch Resort, the Tinapa Business Resort, Marina Resort, etc.
calabar festivalThe Festival starts with the Tree-Lighting ceremony on the 30th of November at the Millennium Parkcalabar festival, Calabar and culminates in the Thanksgiving Ceremony on 1st January of the succeeding year. In between, there are musical concerts which have featured renowned national and international artistes like Lucky Dube (of blessed memory), Joe, Alpha Blondy, Hugh Masekela, Oliver Mtukudzi, Akon, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Chevelle Franklyn, Fat Joe, NeYo, Asa, Dbanj etc have all at one time or the other graced the Festival with their rhythms and lyrics. There are also awareness campaigns and seminars on contemporary issues of global concerns, children Christmas Camp, Theatre performances, vocational trainings for youth, Fashion and Food Fairs, a weekend at the Obudu Ranch Resort to celebrate Africa, and so many other side attractions. Of course there is a two-day Carnival Calabar to spice up the season.
Every December, all roads lead to the beautiful city of Calabar, for the Calabar Festival, the biggest and longest multi-faceted entertainment calabar festivalprogramme in West Africa. For thirty two days, the serene, tree-lined streets of Calabar come alive with visitors from all over the world, in an exhilarating celebration of culture, dance, music and theatre. Nigeria's strongest tourism brand, the Festival features the HIV/AIDS walk, musical concerts featuring top national and international artistes, a colorful cultural parade, traditional boat regatta, Christmas village, Christmas camp for children, Food Fair, fashion shows and the Children's Carnival.
The highlight of the Festival is the exciting and colorful Carnival Calabar. Attracting over 100,000 costumed revelers and well over a million local and international spectators, the Carnival, tagged Africa's Biggest Street Party, is a unique visual display of innovation and creativity, featuring cultural influences and traditions from the past and the present in its costumes, drama, dance and music.
The seductive ambiance in the city is truly special, full of joy, camaraderie and friendship.