ORLANDO, Fla. – Carnival is a celebration of emancipation in Caribbean cultures, and Orlando Carnival Downtown is seeking to bring that spirit to Florida with a weekend-long festival at Dezerland Park.
The three-day Orlando Carnival Downtown celebration kicks off Friday evening with a celebration of Carnival traditions, starting with a fashion show based around Carnival attire.
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The first day of the event — Carnival on the Runway — will open its doors at 6 p.m. Friday evening, and is set to act as a “fabulous fashion show, combination of mas (a form of Caribbean masquerade dress used for Carnival), fashion and culture,” according to the event’s organizers.
An afterparty will be hosted at Legends Resto & Lounge, featuring the ladies of “soca” — a style of Caribbean music — Imani Ray, Nessa Preppy and Nailah Blackman.
The second stage of the event is titled “J’Ouvert” and is scheduled for Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. According to organizers, this stage of the event will see participants getting paint all over themselves — a tradition of Carnival celebrations — while enjoying music in the outdoor venue.
Following J’Ouvert is “Back in Time Lime,” which is set to run from 6 - 10 p.m. Saturday evening.
“Liming” is a Caribbean slang term for relaxing in a public place and enjoying the scenery, which is exactly what organizers say this stage of the event is meant for.
Attendees can “lime in an outdoor dinner theater type atmosphere” while they sit, eat, drink and enjoy entertainment from musical artists and entertainers — including Winston “Gypsy” Peters, a Trinidad and Tobago politician with a background in Caribbean music — organizers wrote.
The weekend-long event builds up to its fourth and final stage Sunday with “Carnival Day,” which will feature a parade of Mas bands and Caribbean street food, such as jerk chicken, “real” snow cones and coconut water, organizers stated. Carnival Day is scheduled to last from noon to 11 p.m.
Orlando Carnival Downtown is set to begin Friday at 6 p.m. For more information or to get involved, visit the event’s website here.