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Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival, USA

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Aalborg Carnival, Denmark
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San Francisco Carnival, USA


What is Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival?

The Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival is an annual celebration held in Florida, United States. The Tampa Bay Carnival is a spring festival that invites all its visitors to be part of the Caribbean American traditions and to get to know a little more about themulticultural society found in the Tampa Bay area.

The purpose of the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival is to bring the population closer to living a completely Caribbean experience through the different elements that can be found during the celebration. Among its varied activities, we can name exhibitions, crafts, entertainment of first level, parades, J’ouvert, presentations of Iron Drums, concerts of Caribbean music and a pleasant and familiar atmosphere.



The carnivals began relatively recently, as they are the result of a project that first materialized in 2005 when members of the newly founded Tampa Caribbean Festival Inc. organization decided to expand their program of events. This organization was oriented to the Caribbean community and decided to celebrate the different Caribbean cultural elements that nowadays take place every year.

The event offers the opportunity to experience a one hundred percent Caribbean carnival and at the same time, it offers spaces for differentcompanies and organizations to connect with clients while highlighting their products. In addition, the carnival functions as a vehicle for promotion, Media Inclusion with links to websites, Sales Product Display, Product Introduction, Product Sampling and building your database.



The carnivals feature a great musical show and various local and international artists, the characteristic colorful parade with the Mas bands, dancing everywhere, the traditional J’ouvert street and different pieces of art. The carnivals could not be complete without an incredible range of varied Caribbean food stalls so that each and every person has the opportunity to taste authentic Caribbean food from a large part of the countries that make up the region.

The Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival has the help and support of several sponsors such as Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Bright Hoise, Charter Spectrum WMNF 88.5 fm and Tabacco Free Florida. In addition, it is always looking for new sponsors to contribute to the development of the carnivals.


The Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival was born to keep Caribbean traditions in the area

The Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival was born to keep Caribbean traditions in the area



When is the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival?

Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnivals is a festival that takes place in the spring. The Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival celebrations will take place on approximately April 24.



History of the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnivals

Modern Caribbean carnivals are known to have originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the late 18th century with the arrival of French settlers who brought with them the iconic tradition of the fiesta Mardi Gras or Martes Gordo Mardi Gras to the island. During the early 18th century, there were already a large number of free afro descendants in Trinidad mixed with French immigrants and some Spanish settlers and British citizens. All this mixing of cultures through the processes of colonization and the arrival of slaves in the Caribbean made the traditional European carnival become a more diverse and colorful celebration with the inclusion of the different ethnic groups..

With the end of slavery in 1834, the population was completely free to outwardly celebrate their native culture and emancipation through dress, the music and dancing. As a result, we began to see elements that still remain in the Caribbean carnivals such as the J’ouvert, which is one of the purest and most important expressions of the history of the Caribbean community, as it represents the feeling of freedom after the abolition of slavery.

Hundreds of thousands of Caribbean people scattered around the world to seek new opportunities in different continents, which led to their desire to be part of their traditions again, especially thecarnaval traditions, as they form an important milestone in their culture and identity. Some groups of Caribbean citizens decided to createorganizations or institutions to preserve the Caribbean identity and culture, as a result festive events such as carnivals arise in various parts of the world where they are not normally celebrated, as in the case of the Caribbean Carnivals of Tampa Bay..

The Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival emerged in 2005 when members of the Tampa Caribbean Festival undertook the project of an event to celebrate the Caribbean American cultures and offer entertainment spaces to the large population of Caribbeans and Caribbean descendants residing in the area. Over time, the carnival began to consolidate and establish itself as an annual celebration.

The Tampa Bay Carnival seeks topreserve and publicize Caribbean traditions through the various aspects of culture with the Tampa community. Thus, the festival features performances that include various DJs, steel drum bands, crafts, food and drink options. In addition, it also carries out traditional elements of Caribbean carnivals such as fetes, J’ouvert and the traditional parade with Mas bands.


Where is the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival

The Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival is held at the Florida State Fairgrounds located in Tampa, Florida. The venue hosts more than 150 events throughout the year and has an extinguishing 130 acres to hold hundreds of events and exhibits.

Tampa Bay is one of the largest cities in Hillsborough County in the state of Florida, United States. The city of Tampa has a population of 400,000.


People wear colorful costumes in the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival Parade

People wear colorful costumes in the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival Parade



How the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival is celebrated

Although the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival in Florida features just one day of celebrations, that’s not to say it’s a small thing. In fact, it features almost 12 hours of activities and events for the entire public to showcase all that the Caribbean culture has to offer in the United States of America.

Hundreds of people from different adjacent areas come to the fairground to see the different musical performances held during the carnivals. In addition, they do not miss the opportunity to taste the different authentic Caribbean food and buy some art or handicraft pieces that are exhibited at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

As is tradition in any Caribbean carnival there are 4 events that are characteristic of the Carnival festivities, which are the J’ouvert, the parade with the bands Mas, the fetes or parties and the live music concerts, particularly the Steelband Jamboree.



The J’ouvert is a party or celebration usually held in the early morning or overnight hours. This ceremony carries with it a deep historical sentiment, since it began to take place especially after theabolition of slavery. Since then, the J’ouvert has become an indispensable element in all Caribbean carnival celebrations and various parts of the world that celebrate Caribbean traditions.

The J’ouvert celebrations are carried out through a great uproar, in which hundreds of people take to the streets to party in style. During the celebration, people cover themselves from head to toe in oil, mud, talcum powder, water and paint, while playing whistles, singing and dancing. In addition, the whole event is usually accompanied by live bands, mainly percussionists.


The parade is one of the traditions that takes place in each of theCaribbean and world carnivals. One of the most common elements is the Mas Band or Banda Mas. These bands are companies who organize large packages that include entertainment, drinks, music and colorful outfits. Generally, people purchase these packages for the parades and parade through the streets in the company of other people with the same outfit.

During the parade there are also different music bands or trucks with speakers that play Caribbean music for the participants, especially the Soca and the Calipso..

The following Mas Bands participate in the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival parade:

  • Phenomenal Mas Band
  • Sailors Mas Band
  • Young Stars
  • Ciclez Mas
  • PD Mas

In addition, Tampa Bay Carnival is always on the lookout for new bands to integrate into its festivities, thus helping to make the carnivals much more recognizable.



Fetes are large parties that are held in front of an audience and are usually performed by renowned artists who collaborate to provide the best entertainment possible. In addition, some of these fetes or parties have a particular theme, which makes them an event not to be missed.



Concerts and musical presentations are elements that can never be missing in a Caribbean carnival. Usually, several musical bands perform some musical repertoire to liven up the festivities. Calypso and soca are two of the predominant genres; however, you can also find different concerts of metal drummers or reggae singers.


Tips for going to the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnivals

If you want to participate in the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnivals, we recommend you plan your trip in advance, make an itinerary of activities and book your preferred lodging in advance. Also, remember to pack comfortable clothes and shoes so you can fully enjoy your carnivals.

Also remember that the entrance fee for carnivals ranges from US$10 to US$20. In addition, some events such as concerts or fetes have an extra fee, so we recommend you keep an eye on the official carnival publications to know in detail the cost of the events in which you want to participate.

Finally, remember to stay hydrated, as physical activity, alcoholic beverages and the heat can cause your body to dehydrate quickly, so we recommend you bring a thermos of water and apply sunscreen every 30 minutes if possible.

If you want to know more about tourism in this country, I recommend this guide:


Events at the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival

The event begins with a fete the day before that culminates in J’ouvert the following day, so the party goes on Friday night until 5:00 am on Saturday. After this, the fairground of the carnivals opens from 1:00 pm until 10:00 pm. During this time interval a large number of events take place such as concerts, food, art and craft fairs, musical performances of metal drums, soca, reggae, Latin, Hip Hop and afro beat presentations.

One of the events that stands out in the carnival is the main parade with the Mas bands, which is accompanied by hundreds of people in colorful costumes decorated with feathers and glitter. It also has the participation of live music and entertainment of the highest quality for all the characters.


People wear colorful costumes for the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival

People wear colorful costumes for the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival



Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival Parades


The parade features the Mas Bands participating in the Tamba Bay Caribbean Carnival, which provide diverse and interesting ensembles accompanied by different services or types of entertainment. The parades are charged with great excitement and celebratory atmosphere, while the musical bands and percussionists accompany the ceremony with their great repertoire of Caribbean rhythms.


Parade route


Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival offers a wide variety of activities and a parade

Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival offers a wide variety of activities and a parade


The parade usually takes place in the vicinity of the Florida State Fairgrounds, so the various groups will start the parade at the back entrance of the fairgrounds and go around the entire circumference of the facility. Once the parade has made its way around the grounds, the parade will culminate at the stage area. The parade will take place at 5:00 p.m.


Rum Punch is a traditional rum-based Caribbean drink

Rum Punch is a traditional rum-based Caribbean drink


What to eat at the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival

One of the drinks you can’t is the Rum Punch, a sweet cocktail made with lime or lemon juice, pineapple or orange juice, grenadine and rum. Some people add some spices such as nutmeg. The drink is served with plenty of ice.

One of the distinctive Caribbean dishes that you can try during the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnivals is the pepperpot, a simple stew made with different vegetables such as okra, pumpkin and potatoes that are accompanied with meat and sometimes chicken. In some Caribbean countries meatballs or mushrooms are added.

In addition, the city of Tampa Bay offers you some options where you can go to eat. Some of these options are: Wright’s Gourmet House, La Terrazza Restaurant, Happy Fish, First Watch, Mr. Dunderbak’s, Green Lemon, Bern’s Steak House, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Eddie & Sam’s NY Pizza. All of these restaurants offer a varied menu featuring Snacks, American food, Italian food, vegetarian options, Latin food, seafood, and grilled food.


The pepperpot is one of the most emblematic dishes of the Caribbean

The pepperpot is one of the most emblematic dishes of the Caribbean



Travel Insurance


From we recommend to hire a good insurance to visit this carnival and to know the rest of the country. For being our readers we offer a 5% discount on all IATI insurances. Read more information about all insurance offers here:



What to see and do inside the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival

If you decide to be a part of Tampa Bay Carnival, you can attend a plethora of events and activities that the community organizes during the holiday. That said, you can attend the varied concerts and musical performances of different Caribbean genres that take place within the carnival grounds. In addition, you can take a stroll through the handicrafts fair and find a piece of your liking.

Don’t forget toattend the carnival parade or the J’ouvert as they are two of the main components for a truly Caribbean carnival. Finally, you can approach the different food stalls and try some of the dishes from the wide variety of food that the Caribbean countries have to offer.

If you don’t want to complicate things, here you can book interesting excursions in Spanish in this city:.

Guided tours in Spanish around the world


What to see and do outside of the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnivals


Busch Gardens

It is a theme park that began operating since March 1959. In addition, it is one of the largest zoological institutions in the United States that has more than 2,700 animals. The park has a large number of mechanical rides and roller coasters that you won’t want to miss if you visit the city.


The Florida Aquarium

This is a large-scale aquarium with a 23,000 m2 facility. The aquarium is dedicated to the conservation and education of wildlife. Inside the facility you can find more than 7,000 aquatic plants and animals from Florida and around the world. The Aquarium has been in operation since March 1995.


Lettuce Lake Park

It is a park of over 97 acres in size and is located just outside the city limits of Tampa. The park began operating since 1982 and features several boardwalks that traverse a variety of Florida ecosystems. In addition, the park has a visitor center, an observation tower, nature trails, picnic tables, grills, restrooms, an open playground and a children’s play area.

Also if you want to visit museums and important buildings in this city we recommend that you book your entrance ticket in advance through Tiquets: .

Book tickets in the city you are visiting


Safety at the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnivals



Tampa is a city Tampa is generally quite safe, so you don’t have to worry if you decide to walk its streets both day and night. Your best ally in your carnival vacation is common sense, use it and we guarantee you will not have any problems during the celebrations.

As always, we recommend you keep your personal belongings in a safe place to avoid theft and loss. Also, we recommend the following products to keep your items safe:



Weather at the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival

The city of Tampa boasts pleasant weather during the Caribbean Carnival celebrations, with temperatures ranging from 19 to 29 degrees Celsius with little chance of precipitation.

Remember to stay hydrated and apply sunscreen as often as needed.


Different groups participate in the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival parade

Different groups participate in the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival parade



How to get to the Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival


How to get there by plane

Thecity of Tampa has its own airport called Tampa International Airport, which receives a large number of domestic and international flights. Once you are here, you can make use of the various means of transportation that the city of Tampa has available for you.

We recommend buying airline tickets through or Skyscanner where they are usually cheaper. More information on this link to review


How to get there by train

From Orlando you can take an Amtrak train to the city of Tampa. The trip takes about two hours and the price ranges between 27 and 40 US dollars.

From Miami you can take the Rail line train to the Northbound station. Once there, walk about 7 minutes to the Amtrak station in Miami. From there, join the Silver Star line to the city of Tampa.


How to get there by bus

From the airport take a bus company Hillsborough Area Regional Transit to the city of Tampa. The trip takes 35 minutes and the price is 2 US dollars.

From Orlando you can take a bus from Greyhound USA to the city of Tampa. The trip takes 1 hour and 40 minutes and the price ranges from US$15 to US$22.

From Miami you can take a bus from American Bus Tickets to the city of Tampa. The trip takes 5 hours and 50 minutes and the price ranges between 21 and 65 US dollars.


How to get there by car

From the airport, take I-275 N to Tampa, a 15-minute drive.

From Orlando take I-4 W to Tampa. The drive is 1 hour and 15 minutes.

From Miami you can take I-75 N to Tampa. The drive is 3 hours and 50 minutes.


Where to Stay at Tampa Bay Caribbean Carnival



La Quinta Inn by Wyndham Tampa Bay Airport

2-star hotel 4 miles from Tampa city center. Rooms feature cable TV, coffee-making facilities, and some have refrigerators and microwaves. Amenities include a pool, airport transfers, breakfast, Wi-Fi and free parking.


Sleep Inn & Suites Tampa South

2 star hotel 9 km from Tampa city center. Rooms feature air conditioning, satellite TV, microwave, private bath with hairdryer and toiletries. Facilities include spa, breakfast, room service, fitness center and free wifi.


The Godfrey Hotel & Cabanas Tampa

3-star hotel 11 km from Tampa city center. Rooms feature balcony, TV and refrigerator. Facilities offer 2 swimming pools, room service, bar, restaurant, private parking, fitness center and free wifi in all areas.

We recommend you use to book hotels at a good price, check more information here:.


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