Miami Fiesta set to kickoff on Sunday

The much-anticipated Rattlers vs. the Hurricanes game is not the only event that will happen in Miami this weekend. The 25th annual Miami Carnival parade and festival celebration is scheduled to take place.

Miami-Broward One Carnival host committee will put on the Miami carnival parade. The event will be held Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Bicentennial Park, which is located in downtown Miami.

Since 1984, the annual Miami Carnival has grown from a small neighborhood festival to an international event, attracting live bands and calypsonians from islands like St. Croix, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago.

The present board of directors of Miami Carnival, Inc. is comprised of Carl Assam, Kathryn D’Arcy, Raymond Luke, Joan Ragoonan, Sidney Roberts and Ruthven Williams.

Selman Vincent Lewis, 60, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, and former chief executive officer of the Carnival for the past 18 years died last September. His dedication and commitment made the annual Miami Carnival the third largest Caribbean carnival in North America. The largest carnival is held in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Carnival is a Caribbean cultural affair that culminates with a costumed street parade.  The parade features hundreds of masquerade bands of participants in costumes. The parade also includes steel bands, large individual costumes, the Kings and Queens of each band and a variety of Caribbean music.

Spectators from all over the world gather for great music, food and unity. “It’s a time to share with everyone,” said FAMU alumnus Robert Roberts.

 Roberts, who is from the U.S. Virgin Islands also said: “Carnival time is an occasion for you and your family to have fun. You just let loose and enjoy yourself with no worries. It’s a time when you aren’t moved by mundane things.”

The performers and band selections at the carnival this year are bigger as well. Last year’s performers included Soca Monarch Bunji Garlin, Soca Road March Queen, Fay Ann Lyons and Groovy Soca Monarch, and Shurwayne Winchester. 

“This year, Miami Carnival is going to be bigger and better. Last year there were approximately 60 food vendors compared to the 100 they will have this year,” said Carole Blue,  the media relations professional of the Miami Carnival committee.

This year the line up includes Peter Ram, Karma, Asylum Band, James Rudder, Fayann, Bunji Garlin and Curtis Eustace, who have been King of Carnival eight times, and more.

“Tickets are $20 at the door and children under 10 are admitted for free…this year is sure to be better than the last,” Blue said.