Cambridge Carnival 2014

Cambridge Carnival 2014

Celebration is rooted in African tradition

  • Posted on: 7 September 2014
  • By: mholbrow

The parade started out from Blackstone Street, at the southwest end of River Street, at 12:30 Sunday afternoon, September 7. At the head of the parade was Miss Carnival, Marie Liete (right). The marchers were becalmed for a few minutes where I was standing on River Street, so I walked over to ask her how she got to be Miss Carnival.

“I always participate, every year, so people know me and they vote for me,” she said, smoothing out her ceremonial sash and beaming. The parade moved on – no way to find out more.

After her came a dancer on stilts, who was also interested in votes. She was boosting Don Berwick for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Tuesday’s primary.

The sidewalk was lined with people where I stood on Laurel Street. There were even people perched in a tree (left) on the corner.

The annual Cambridge Carnival celebrates African traditions. It’s the city’s biggest festival, and this is its twenty-second year. Marchers of all ages stop along the way to embrace friends and dance solo or with observers as they make their way up River Street to Central Square, along Massachusetts Avenue, and turn left on Main Street to end up at the reviewing stand at the corner of Main and Albany.

It’s a family event, with a parade route from Blackstone to Kenmore Square – a little over a mile. After the parade there’s storytelling, face painting, arts and crafts, tons of food.

The parade music thundering from the sound trucks and from passing percussion and steel bands features Haitian, Reggae, Soca (soul of calypso), and other styles.
There was a dense crowd around the reviewing stand in Kenmore Square, where judges rate costumes, dancing and other features. Rumor had it that results would be announced in a few days.

Impossible not to have a good time!