What are the Cambridge Carnival's guiding principles and values?
Cambridge Carnival International is a nonprofit grassroots organization led by a diverse and committed board and Carnival Committee, and supported by volunteers. The committee and board, and administrative staff of Cambridge Youth Steel Orchestra are of Caribbean ancestry and other minority groups. Our slogan is "By the People, For The People," and that is how we define community. We work with approximately 100 volunteers in organizing and supporting our mission.
Cambridge Carnival promotes diversity and inclusion by connecting Caribbean cultural traditions to practices and methods of teaching that resonate with our audience and students regardless of their cultural background, sexuality, or disability. Our top volunteers are people with disabilities--they show up every year and on time and make a significant contribution to our festival by serving in roles such as Parade Marshals or Set up and Break down Crew.
Racial equity is at the core of our work at Cambridge Carnival International. The board and Carnival Organizing Committee, and volunteers are representative of Black and Brown, Latinx,AAPI, Indigenous/Native communities, White, LGBTQ communities, immigrants, physically and mentally disabled members, seniors, young adults, low income families, non and limited English speaking communities. Our programs are representative of the communities we serve. Our free festival gives low to moderate income individuals the opportunity to enjoy an event that exposes them to Afro-Caribbean cultures/tradition and Cambridge's diverse community. This event welcomes people of all ages and our events are ADA accessible, and we serve disabled people and people with health conditions or impairments. We also have a KidsFest section that offers free, interactive activities for you to enjoy such as Face painting, stilt walking, storytelling and mask making.
What are the ongoing services or programs that you provide?
Our core program is the annual Cambridge Carnival festival, is a colorful and festive celebration that is rooted in African traditions. Carnival secretly allowed public communication and cultural bonding for the Afro-Caribbean cultures from as far back as the 1600s. The festival, now a Cambridge institution, attracts thousands of people and is the largest festival in Cambridge. The highlight of the festival is a grand costume parade accompanied by rich rhythmic musicality promoting all types of cultures that can be seen as revelers masquerade through the streets of Cambridge in dazzling handmade costumes, dancing to the beat of Carnival. Cambridge Carnival is the most unique event in the city of Cambridge. The Carnival attracts an audience of close to 100,000 people, pre-COVID, About 70% of our attendees from the festival are from Cambridge, or used to live in Cambridge, or have family in Cambridge.
Our Cambridge Youth Steel Orchestra (CYSO) program serves children ages 7-12 years old and their parents. Both youth and parents practice and perform together. This is really special to see.
Are there any upcoming projects, initiatives, or events that your organization would like others to know about?
This year marks the 29th presentation of Cambridge Carnival International, the city's largest multicultural festival. The organization in its 30th year is made up of volunteers who work year round to plan this spectacular Caribbean style parade and festival. The 29th Cambridge Carnival will take place on Sunday, September 10, 2013 from 11 AM - 5 PM. A pre-Carnival Jamboree will take place on Wednesday, September 6th in Lafayette Square and the Jill Brown-Rhone Park from 5 PM - 9 PM.