Tu-Face, Sunny Neji, others for C’River Xmas fiesta
Calabar, the Canaan city and capital of Cross River State comes alive again in colours as the yearly Christmas festival continues this week.
The month-long festival with the theme: Fight Against Aids was declared open with a tree lighting ceremony at the Millennium Park by Governor Donald Duke on Thursday, December 1. Thereafter, a city walk with about 5,000 people in T-shirts and caps, designed to create awareness on the scourge of HIV/AIDS took place.
Speaking with journalists recently on the activities lined up for the festival, wife of the governor, Mrs Onari Duke said "the state is using the opportunity of the festival to create maximum awareness on the disease. Since all the civil servants are on leave for the whole month, the message will get to every household because everyone is part of the festival."
The governor also unveiled the Christmas Arcade, Santa-Claus grotto and opened the culture village and shopping fair which has the lottery stand, children play area, food court and local governments' exhibition stand.
The festival is packed with fun and excitement from the first day to the last.
Three memorable days Friday, December 9 to 11 have come and gone. Christened African Weekend at the ranch, renowned international musicians and Nigerian artistes performed at the Obudu Cattle Ranch.
This year's festival which is bigger than that of last year parades Maxi Priest, Joe, Mighty Sparrow, Tu Face, Sunny Neji, Sir Victor Uwaifor, Oliver De-Coque, Blakky, Styl-Plus among others.
Today at the Millennium Park, music lovers and fun seekers will watch performances by local artistes like Brown Bread, Etun Brass Band and Zoro boy among others.
Tomorrow, the first live concert holds at the Calabar Stadium. It will feature two indigenous artistes, Gloria Ibru and her G-Notes, Blackky and Styl-Plus. A talent hunt competition tagged Let the children play will also take place.
On Friday, December 23, the state will host the clowning community in a Christmas laughter show at the stadium featuring Ali Baba, Clint De Drunk, Original Basket Mouth, Grandoki, I go die and I go save.
On Christmas eve, there is a carol night which will have about 20 churches singing at the same time in the streets of Calabar.
The night will also feature Acapella boys, WAAM Choir and Nativity play.
On Christmas day, Daddy Showkey, Mighty Sparrow and two local artistes will thrill the people at the stadium. It is also a day for family funfair. While boxing day is reserved for the usual colourful carnival called The float.
According to Mrs Duke, the float usually goes with colourfully decorated trucks with a band. Artistes like Tu-Face, Stella Madasus-Aboderin, Sunny Neji, Sammy Needle and Sammy Okposo will be on the float.
The major concert of the festival comes up on December 28, featuring Maxi Priest, Stella Damasus-Aboderin and Sammy Okposo. The steel orchestra takes place at the Millennium Park the following day.
The boat reggatta involving 20 decorated boats in an interesting competition on the Marina holds on December 30.
On new year eve, Sammy Needle, Tu-Face and Sunny Neji will be on stage for a live concert at the stadium.According to Mrs Duke, at midnight, the sky is usually given a new meaning as beautiful colours are displayed from different shades of lasers and fireworks. Later the raffle draw which has a new car as star prize takes place.The festival comes to a close with a thanksgiving service on the 1st of January, 2006, with the governor in attendance.