The Spirit of the Caribbean Sweeps The First Coast

No trip to the Caribbean this year? No worries, the 14th annual Jacksonville Caribbean Carnival was held this weekend at Metro Park bringing beauty and culture of the Caribbean to the First Coast.  The Carnival Organization of Jacksonville, Inc. (COOJI) 2019 theme was “Stay to Get Away,”to promote the carnivals weekend three-day stay-cation right here in Northeast Florida. Family and friends enjoyed a weekend of music, dancing, food, costumes, live bands, dee-jays, vendors, International Caribbean artists, and dozens of volunteers and organizers to guarantee that this year’s event would be a “can’t miss” affair. Cultural groups, high schools, colleges, and civic organizations participated in the parade while showcasing their vibrant costumes from around the Caribbean.
Celebrating all Caribbean cultures, the Carnival features a street parade featuring Caribbean costumes and music, and an elaborate food festival highlighting all the flavors and aromas of Caribbean food, as well as Caribbean craft displays and catchy steel drum music, ending with a live Caribbean stage concert. The festive parade began at noon from the corner of 1st Street and A. Phillip Randolph Boulevard. Festival goers danced along with the parade and  showcased their colorful costumes, while dancing to sounds of calypso music and steel drums. The Festival featured foods representing, Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the flair of the Black American Caribbean traditions.
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. The festival also aims to provide a forum to showcase and promote Caribbean owned businesses and professionals, art, dance, music, theater and cuisine. 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 organizer Theo Jackson.This year the group performed a mix of songs originating from Trinidad and Tobago Islands. Shown (l-r) is Pandora’s Boxx Mas group ladies Cash, Tosh, Charlotte and Asharae.

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