The Caribbean Festival was launched in downtown Jacksonville in 2005. This year’s event was held at Metropolitan Park with hundreds of local residents attending and enjoying the diverse cultures of the Caribbean Islands.
The Carnival Organization of Jacksonville, Inc. (“COOJI”) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness, understanding, open dialogue and appreciation of Caribbean people and their culture on the First Coast. Cultural groups, high schools, colleges, and civic organizations participated in the parade while showcasing their vibrant costumes from around the Caribbean.
A parade culminates at the Festival in the park featuring live bands, cultural performances, vendors and other goods. The festival also aims to provide a forum to showcase and promote Caribbean owned businesses and professionals, art, dance, music, theater and cuisine.
Attendees also participate in the native island dance and mingle to the sounds of calypso and steel drums. The festival has become one of Florida’s most well known, drawing participants from around the state and from other cities throughout the Southeastern U.S.
“This festival is for individuals interested in the Caribbean culture to come together for dialogue and to get to know each other in an environment open to the exchange of ideas and opinions,” said Pressure Robinson.
Pictured below is the Sparking Divas Dance team that has performed at the festival for three years straight. This year the group performed a mix of soca songs originating from Trinidad and Tobago Islands. Shown (l-r) is Nezariah Mathis, Cash Lane, Navia Mills, Julina Mills, Carly Smith, Nasia Lott, Nazariah Maclendon, Jhan Carlisle and Khloe Adams.