CaribMask festival takes Raleigh streets by storm

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Raleigh’s Fayetteville Street was filled to the brim with vendors and visitors interested in Afro-Caribbean culture for the 7th Annual CaribMask Carnival on Saturday, Aug. 25.

Created by the Raleigh/Durham Afro-Caribbean Association (RDACA), the yearly carnival strives to promote diversity and and create a deeper appreciation for Afro-Caribbean culture among Triangle-area residents.

Alongside the vendor village, CaribMask held a parade that featured costumed dancers and musical groups including local fan favorites One World Unity Mas Camp and Baha-Nation Entertainment.

Even though one of the event’s primary goals is to educate locals about Afro-Caribbean and pan-Caribbean culture as a whole, carnival attendees came from all over the eastern seaboard.

One vendor who had to drive particularly far was Maryland-area fusion restaurant Island Quizine. Bridging the divide between cultures while still staying true to island flavors, Island Quizine’s offerings at CaribMask gave carnival-goers options ranging from curried goat and oxtail with butter beans to jerk burgers and piña colada salmon.

The vast majority of vendors were selling clothing like the Danieli family’s Nashona African textile boutique and Decatur, G.A.-based 2nd Generation Imports and Design, who manufactures and distributes their own 100% African black soap.

Saturday night on Fayetteville finished off with performances from Soca musicians Kerwin Dubois—who mingled with the crowd before hitting the stage at 7—from Trinidad and Tobago, the Virgin Islands’ diva Rudy Live, Barbadian artist Hypasounds and reggae personality DJ Kevy Kev.

RDACA’s three main goals are to:

  • Be a platform of education and advocacy and empower the Afro-Caribbean community.
  • Provide opportunities for collaboration to foster community impact economically.
  • Embrace the community through programs that seek to strengthen its citizens, local businesses, and organizations, and sponsor cultural events which teach the diversity and beauty of the African diaspora.

Last Saturday, the organization achieved those goals on top of hosting an outstanding cultural festival.

CaribMask was the second-to-last hurrah of RDACA’s events that week, preceded by Camo Fête, a camouflage-themed dance party at Raleigh’s Reign Bar and Lounge the night before and followed by the J’ouvert street party on Sunday afternoon.

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