Ahead of the 2016 Carnival Calabar schedule for the later part of December, Cross Riverians, on Sunday came out in their drove to join carnival band loyalists for the second dry run.
The dry run as it is called is a dress rehearsal created by the Carnival Commission to test-run innovations meant to add fun and pageantry to the carnival activities.
This second dry run which took a new dimension in terms of audience reach, access and point of take off was a new signature to the adjudication points.
The 12 kilometer fiesta started from the millennium Park through the Calabar road down to Marian, then back to the Stadium was as usual barricaded with iron bars while residents lined up in their numbers to watch, cheer and dance to the rhythm of each carnival train as they display along the carnival route.
On like previous years, the second dry run was designed to have different take off points for each band, a deliberate plan to make the carnival flow with the expectation of audiences within the adjudication points and along the carnival routes.
The second dry run was a sight to behold as the governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade and his wife Dr Linda Ayade, rode into the crowd for the flag off of the dry run on bicycles, which herald unprecedented cheers from all and sundry.
The test rehearsal was flagged off by Dr (Mrs) Linda Ayade, together with Governor Ben Ayade, Mrs Onari Duke, Senator Florence Ita Giwa, Mrs Tourism United Nations, Mrs Ebele Enemchukwu and 30 Queens from different African Countries among others.
Speaking during the flag off, the wife of Cross River state Governor, Mrs Linda Ayade said the carnival is one of the unique platforms that bring out the rich cultural splendour of the people of Cross River and they will continue to improve on it to making it bigger and better.
Our carnival, every year is dedicated to one thing or the other, last year the theme of the carnival was Climate Change and this year, we are repeating the same theme.
Mrs Ayade, however welcomed all and sundry to the second dry run and in her words, “ I humble declared 2016 carnival dry run open to the glory of God and I dedicated it to climate change.
Also the governor Ayade said that he will continue to consolidate on innovations on ground to see that he puts the state on the world map.
Ayade called on Nigeria to use tourism to turn around the economy of the country, adding that it is the only way things can get better.
Ayade said “we don’t have to wait for people outside to change our country for us because it belongs us and because it is our country, we alone can make the desired change we need and we have to start now.”
Speaking at the slide line of the dry run the Chairman, Carnival Commission, Mr Gab Onah, said the dry run is one of the unique platform used every year to test run new additions that would feature in the carnival proper.
This year, we are adding another innovation to the Carnival to give domestic and foreign spectators bigger and better performance at the biggest street party in Africa, come December 27.
Our governor, Professor Ben Ayade is practically committed innovatively ready to take the excitement of the biggest street party to the next level.