The Cambridge Carnival is 21! The colorful festival celebrates traditions of Cambridge’s international community and draws thousands of attendees each year. The largest festival of its kind in the city, the Cambridge Carnival is a family-friendly event featuring 4 live music zones, DJs, a KidsFest zone and a Health Fete promoting healthy lifestyles. But the creme de la creme of the entire affair is the spectacular Costume Parade.
The costume parade is a grand celebration of African, Caribbean & Brazilian Carnival traditions accompanied by rich rhythmic musicality promoting all types of cultures. Revelers masquerade through the streets. Dazzling handmade costumes, dancing and the rhythm of the carnival make the parade an entertaining event for all ages. The brightly colored plumes, satins and sequins are a treat for the eyes and the incredible music from each group is inspiring.
The Cambridge Carnival began in 1992 as a relatively small Boston street fair located in University Park in Cambridge. It has grown in a big way in the last 21 years. Enjoy international foods, purchase multicultural crafts from around the world and celebrate Cambridge’s diverse identity. The second best thing about the carnival after the parade is that it’s FREE!
Organized by a non-profit volunteer community organization of diverse individuals, the event is also sponsored by Enterprise and the City of Cambridge. These sponsorships and the year round efforts of the organizing committee make it possible for this event to be free and open to the public. Volunteers are committed to promoting, preserving and sharing the history and culture of Carnival traditions from Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil.
The Cambridge Carnival expects up to 100,000 attendees this year. North-easterners are the largest number of guests, but visitors and tourists from all across North America and the world make it a point to include this carnival in summer holiday plans.
2013 Cambridge Carnival Schedule
Costume Parade: 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
The parade features steel bands and a costume competition. The route pans 1.3 miles and the procession kicks off between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. It begins near the Charles River, at River Street and Blackstone Street, then passes through Central Square along Massachusetts Avenue, continues up Main Street and ends in Kendall Square near MIT, Cambridge.
Viewing Stage: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
This stage is where the presentation before the costume judges takes place. Before and after the parade, guest DJs will be featured.
International Stage: 12 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Bands representing several island and South American nations will provide the sounds of Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Caribbean, Calypso, Reggae, Compa, Punta, and Salsa music.
Rhythm Stage: 12 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Interactive drumming, dancing, and martial arts demos.
KidsFest: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Activities for children ages 5 to 14 years will include face painting, stilt walking, and arts and craft activities. Open Air Circus and the Children’s Museum contribute to KidsFest, with activities that let kids discover more about some prominent international cultures that thrive in the Boston area.