Antigua’s Carnival – “Revel in Greatness”
Antigua celebrated its first carnival in August 1957. The celebration served a two-fold purpose: It was a tourist attraction and a commemoration of emancipation from slavery. On this occasion there were many floats sponsored by the business sector. Both the Queen show and the Calypso competition were held at the Deluxe Cinema. Miss Gloria White was Antigua’s first Carnival queen and Mighty Styler won the first Calypso competition.
From these humble beginnings Carnival has evolved into what it is today. Each year the Antigua Recreation Grounds is converted to “Carnival City” where the people gather to attend a variety of shows leading up to Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Antigua’s Carnival, the Caribbean’s greatest summer festival, not only stages the only Caribbean Queen Show, but also attracts thousands of visitors and returning residents every year.
Calypso is the core of Carnival celebrations. Calypsos are played by steel bands, brass bands and iron bands in competitions, to support contestants in various shows and as people jump up and play mass on the streets of St. John’s.
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