The Cross River State Government has announced that the Carnival Calabar will resume in December, following a two-year suspension because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press conference to introduce Carnival festivities, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism Eric Anderson announced the addition of two more competing bands, bringing the total number of bands to seven.
Calasvegas and Diamond Bands are the two new additions.
They joined the previous five bands, Seagull, Bayside, Passion4, Freedom, and Master Blasts.
The Commissioner said: “The truth is that just as we wanted to sustain our tourism economy, the world was hit by a pandemic, So the government had held firmly to the commitment to always offer an experience that is safe and fair to all concerned and furthermore following global standards and expectations, it was only in our best interest to observe global sanctions against social gatherings.
“Decisions made and steps taken in 2020 and 2021, earlier to curb the spread of
the COVID-19 pandemic and save humanity from this creeping scorch but when we were to unveil 2021, the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 was not in any way to be undermined.
“We will agree that it was ingenious and a carefully considered decision to halt the Calabar Festival experience for this two years.
“Lessons have been learnt on the contributions and vacuum the Carnival Calabar & festival experience has on the state tourism and local economy.
“Therefore as a tourism cluster, we wish to expressly convey the decision of the State Executive Council and the commitment of His Excellency, Sen Prof. Ben Ayade, the Governor of Cross River State, on the assurances that Cross River State will be hosting the 2022 CARNIVAL & FESTIVAL come December.
“We have also expanded the brand with innovations for increased participation and patronage while ensuring that the socio-economical benefits trickles down.
“As we gear up for the 2022 experience, we are starting with full engagement of the public and private sector with a participatory innovation.”
“We are also calling for entries for a suggestible carnival theme for 2022 and the person with the selected theme will be carting home a cash reward of N1m. Entries opened on 2nd August and close in 10 days.
“To our sponsors, this is also a bigger and better opportunity, I know you won’t miss the mark, all instruments are set in place for a much further national and international reach and a numerical increase in participation, with an open market for product and services.”
“There is no other moment than now and a very special thanks to our dear Governor Senator Prof. Ben Ayade for ensuring that we start early and committing to a successful 2022 Carnival Calabar & Festival.”