MIAMI — As precise as the tone of a steel drum, Carnival is unmistakable.
The Caribbean-based festivity is celebrated around the globe. On Oct. 11, residents from far and wide will get a chance to wind it up at Miami’s Bicentennial Park for the 25th anniversary of Miami Carnival.
Carnival committee members expect crowds to reach upwards of 60,000 people.
“Carnival is a celebration of cultural express, which is very important to us as a people,” said Glenn Joseph, chair of the Miami-Broward One Carnival Committee.
The Broward and Miami-Dade organizations joined forces this year to create a unified Carnival. In recent years, each county held competing events on the same day.
Sunday’s event is expected to be bigger than ever. More than 30 musical performances are planned to take place between noon and 11 p.m.
Beenie Man, Kevin Little, Byron Lee’s Dragonnaires, Bunji Garlin, and Rootsman are among the performers.
Starting at 11 a.m., a total of 36 masquerades bands and steel bands will parade from NE 2nd Ave. (between NE 29 St. and NE 35th St.) to their destination point, Bicentennial Park.
Around 3 p.m., costume bands will make their way into the park, and will be judged on their attire.
Sydney Roberts, chair of the Carnival entertainment committee, has high expectations.
“If you’ve ever been to any parade, this is going to make it look dwarf,” Roberts said as a flurry of people hastily prepared for the weekend around him.
Roberts compared Sunday’s parade to the likes of New Orleans Mardi Gras.
“The people who are in costumes have a grand time,” he said.
The roughly two-mile parade route will be cast with groups of all denominations adorned in glitter, sequins and feather costumes along with bands that will portray everything from sailors to indigenous Indians. Expression and fantasy is very much rooted in the meaning of Carnival.
“It’s the one day when you can have all of the freedom you want. For the masqueraders, it’s the freedom of expression,” Joseph said. “For the spectators, it’s the freedom to reminisce.”
While some crowds will catch the festivities on the parade route, the ultimate bash will take place at Bicentennial Park.
“Carnival as an export commodity – outside of oil and gas from the region – is the most explosive commodity coming out of the region in over the last 25 years,” Joseph said.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Miami Carnival
WHEN: Parade at 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 11. Musical performances between noon and 11 p.m.
WHERE: Bicentennial Park, 1075 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
COST: Admission is $20 at the door, $15 in advance when purchased online at www.miamibrowardcarnival.com. Tickets can only be bought online or at participating locations. Call 305-653-1877 for a location near you.
PARADE ROUTE: The parade begins at NE 2nd Ave. between NE 29th Street and NE 35th Street. It will move south on NE 2nd Ave., east on NE 13th Street, south on North Bayshore Drive and into Bicentennial Park.
PRE-SHOW: Get in on some steel band music on Saturday, Oct. 10 from 3 to 11 p.m. Steel groups will include Pan/Tassa, set to showcase the sounds of 21st Century Steel Orchestra, Lauderhill Steel Ensemble, Miami Pan Symphony, New Generation Branches Steel Orchestra and many more. Admission to that event is $10 in advance and $15 at the park.