Virginia CaribFest

Virginia CaribFest
Virginia CaribFest, also known as simply CaribFest, is an annual Caribbean carnival held in the city of Norfolk, Virginia, United States. CaribFest was founded by a retired military officer who wanted to promote the multicultural dialogue.

Michael C. Forde was assigned to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia in 1993. He served there for more almost three decades before retiring from active duty in 2003. Forde decided to remain in the Hampton Roads area and soon became involved in the community.

Two years after his retirement, Forde felt the need to start a charitable corporation that would provide cross-cultural understanding, acceptance and interaction among people of diverse nationalities through promoting and showcasing Caribbean culture and heritage. He came in touch with a diverse group of enthusiasts representing different Caribbean islands and started to plan a Caribbean festival.

The first CaribFest took place in 2006. It has been held every summer since, expanding the awareness of Caribbean culture in Virginia and bringing significant economic benefits to local businesses. The event is run by the Virginia Caribbean-American Cultural Association (VACACA), a non-profit, community-based multicultural arts organization.

Virginia CaribFest is an exuberant celebration of performing arts and outdoor entertainment, as well as a major tourist attraction that draws thousands of people to Norfolk. It is usually held on the second weekend of August in Town Point Park. The festival features Caribbean, Latin and African music, Caribbean cuisine, arts and crafts displays, special activities for kids, and much more.

CaribFest kicks off with the J'Ouvert Boat Cruise which is held the Friday night before the official opening of the festival. The main highlight of the festival itself is a colorful multicultural parade in downtown Norfolk, featuring dancers and revelers in bright costumes, bands playing music from various regions, and floats. The parade is followed by an open-air celebration in the park and an after-party.


Photo: Mobilus In Mobili




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