By Kingsley Agim
Cross River State Government has promised tourism enthusiasts and fun seekers all over the world a 32-day high-octane, well-packaged and fun-filled activities with the infusion of new innovations to the 2023 Carnival Calabar International Festival beginning in December.
Speaking to newsmen after the maiden meeting of the 2023 Carnival Calabar Festival Planning Committee, the Special Adviser on Event Management and Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong, said the high-level planning team was set up by His Excellency, Governor Bassey Otu, and saddled with the mandate of putting up the most amazing and breathtaking show of 32 days of nonstop fun.
Mr. Ekpenyong revealed that the beehive of activities for the 2023 Carnival Calabar International Festival will begin on November 30 with the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Millennium Park, with simultaneous occurrences at Ikom and Ogoja to avail those in the Central and Northern part of the State the feel of season.
He also hinted that the children carnival would be reintroduced to the schedule, night of carnival kings and queens, where the bands would parade their respective kings/queens, as well as boat regatta, and a new innovation called the ‘Queen of Humanity Cross Pageant, among other numerous scintillating programmes for tourists and guests in the 2023 edition.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Cross River State Carnival Commission, Mr. Gabe Onah, reminded fun seekers that Carnival Calabar is indeed looming, adding that its 2023 theme ‘Season of Sweetness’ was carefully chosen to offer the State the opportunity to ride on her rich cultural heritage to host the world.
“The warmth that is not seen anywhere in the world is evident on the streets of Calabar during the festival,” Mr. Onah boasted, while calling on young people to key into the sector in order to derive that which would positively influence tourists and investors to the State.
“Above all, the ancient city of Calabar would resume her warmth of playing host to the world,” the Carnival Commission Chairman concluded.
Highlighting some of the new innovations to the globally acclaimed fiesta, the Committee’s secretary and Executive Secretary of the State Carnival Commission, Mr. Austin Cobham, informed that the King and Queen of the bands, an academic component – essay competition, the children arcade (a hub for children’s entertainment, education and fun), waterfront boat contest, and a new creation called the ‘Veterans Night,’ which is aimed at bring retirees and senior citizens together to have fun and relive their youthful years, and the Face of Humanity Cross River Ambassador, which would be premiering in few days to come.
Cobham said the winner of the Face of Humanity Ambassador would be at the forefront of identifying people are in direct needs of humanitarian assistance. He assured that the 2023 Calabar International Carnival and Festival would live up to its billing of guaranteeing culture, camaraderie, frenzy, glitz, glamour and mirthful nature of the people of Cross River.
Articulating his views, the Special Adviser to the Governor on General Duties, Akiba Ekpenyong, Esq, noted that under the leadership of the ‘People First’ administration, the tourism sector in the State has worn a new look, with the composition of a team of technocrats and industry experts to drive the successful hosting of the renowned tourism fiesta.
He mentioned that the State going round the clock in its preparation for the 2023 Carnival Calabar International Festival, with the environment fast returning to its lush clean and green status, as well as nibbing crime and criminality on the butt.
The Governor is ready to give the needed support to the planning committee to host the best Carnival Calabar International Festival yet. Modalities are also being put in place for easy movement from place to place during the month-long festival.
“The whole package of the 2023 Carnival, from fusion of the educational component to humanitarian service angle, portend to the fact that the Season of Sweetness is indeed upon Cross River State,” Ekpenyong stated.