St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival

St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival
Photo: stpaulscarnival.net
Every summer, the English city of Bristol hosts St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival that takes place in the city’s inner suburb of St Pauls. It is an iconic event that attracts over 100,000 people each year, locals and tourists alike.

St Pauls is noted for its large African-Caribbean population. St Paul Carnival (then known as St Paul’s Festival) was inaugurated in 1968 to bring together the African-Caribbean, Asian and European communities living in the area. The first event was a multicultural celebration that featured seemingly incompatible acts like steel bands, Scottish dancers, and a weight-lifting competition.

The festival was originally organized by the West Indian Development Association and the St Paul’s and Environs Consultative Committee. In 1975, Trinidad native Francis Salandy took over the event and introduced more elements of traditional Afro-Caribbean carnival, such as the Mas parade. In 1991, the event received its current name, St Pauls Afrikan-Caribbean Carnival.

The Carnival went through a rough time during the 2000s because of the lack of funding and stuff shortage. It was canceled several times throughout the 2000s and 2010s. Finally, the main sponsors pulled their funding due to a “loss in confidence” with the organizers. As a result, a new volunteer-based organization named St Pauls Carnival Community Interest Company was set up to take over one of the city’s biggest celebrations.

The organization was set up in February 2017, and its director stated that they didn’t have enough time to organize the 2017 Carnival. Instead, they put all their effort into planning the 2018 event that would mark the 50th anniversary of the Carnival.

St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival is usually held on the first Saturday of July. Its main goal is to improve relationship between the ethnically diverse inhabitants of the area, as well as to advance education, appreciation and practice of Afro-Caribbean arts, culture and history.

The central event of the St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival is a masquerade procession with lavishly decorated floats from local schools and cultural associations, revelers in colorful costumes, and professional performers. The week leading up to the procession is filled with various cultural events.

After the parade, there are street parties all over the neighborhood, stage performances, and a range of stalls showcasing traditional cuisine of various cultures.

St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival

Photo: stpaulscarnival.net



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