Aruba kick off 55th Carnival celebrations


Aruba kicked off the island’s largest month-long party yesterday with the 55th annual carnival celebration.

Aruba’s carnival celebration is scheduled to go on through February 24, 2009 and is described as “a colorful event, during which music and extravagant costumes take center stage” by Aruba’s tourism officials.

The month-long festival consists of street parties, festive parades and creative contests for locals and visitors alike. Parties are held in various districts throughout the month, giving everyone the opportunity to participate and dance to Aruba’s most popular brass band, steel band and road march tunes.

“Carnival is one of Aruba’s most important and vibrant celebrations,” said Gina Lopez, public relations director for the Aruba Tourism Authority. “It is a great opportunity for both the local people and visitors to get involved in these exciting cultural events, giving visitors a true inside look into the color, flare and enthusiasm of the Aruban people.”

The main attractions include events like the Carnival Queen Election, which takes place on February 6, where Aruba elects one of its most important Carnival representatives, the Aruba Carnival Queen. Aruba’s Tivoli Lighting Parade takes place on February 14 in downtown Oranjestad and incorporates thousands of tiny lights into costumes, road pieces and floats, bringing an added dramatic effect to the extravagant display. February 18 marks Aruba’s annual Tourist Night at Paseo Herencia, featuring steel band music and some of the best costumes featured during Carnival.

The carnival’s biggest event is the 55th Grand Carnival Parade, an all-day event, which winds its way down city avenues to the delight of thousands of spectators. The Grand Parade takes place on February 22 and is promising to deliver a day filled with music and festive floats and costumes in imaginative designs and decorated with a wide variety of colorful stones and feathers, creating a unique display. The parade will start at 11:00 am in Oranjestad and will continue into the evening hours.