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Things to Know Before Your First Antiguan Carnival!

August 2, 2018: Carnival celebrations are held all over the world, but some of the most popular ones today are held in the Caribbean. And Antigua’s Carnival is arguably one of the most popular.

The Antiguan Carnival is the country’s greatest summer festival. The Carnival is a celebration of music and dance held annually from the end of July to the first Tuesday in August. This is a 10-12 day festival of colorful costumes, beauty pageants, talent shows, and especially good music. The most important day is that of the j'ouvert, in which brass and steel bands perform for much of the island's population. Everything takes place primarily in the streets of Antigua’s capital city of St. John, as well as in Carnival City at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

Antigua's annual Carnival began many years ago to mark the celebration of emancipation. Since then the tradition of revelry and abandonment has remained a theme in every year's celebration. The festivities, which celebrate emancipation, range from the Party Monarch and Calypso Monarch competitions of Calypsonians, and the Panorama steel band competition to the Miss Antigua Pageant and the Caribbean Queen’s Show, where beautiful contestants compete for the coveted title of 'Ms. Jaycees'.

The city of St. John's comes alive for ten days with brightly colored costumes and pageantry. Lots of folks travel thousands of miles to enjoy the famous J'ouvert morning jam. This session begins around four o'clock in the morning and runs late in the day. The Parading of Bands, Troupes and Groups allows parade participants to flaunt their extravagant clothing creations to the crowds.

The first day of the Parade starts at 3 AM with a kaleidoscopic blast of live music, dancing and drinking in a vast field overlooking the picturesque city of St. John's. In addition to these major events, the nonstop revelry of this eleven-day carnival includes innumerable smaller festivities, including local concerts, food fairs, and cultural shows. The last day of the festivities are marked by what's known as Carnival - Last Lap. It takes place on the streets in the evening and usually ends around midnight.

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