jacksonville_carnival_phoca_thumb_l_IMG_0102_Jacksonville, Florida will once again have its Annual Carnival Parade Festival on Saturday, the 17th of September at Metropolitan Park in the downtown area of the city. Even though this event ushers in the fall season, there is still time for the beach and partying in the sun. Those who attend will get to enjoy steel drums, colorful costumes and scrumptious island cuisine during this energetic cultural festival. The revelry kicks off with a spectacular parade at 1:00pm, then sashays into Metropolitan Park for a day full of great music, food, arts, crafts and family fun until 10:00pm. In addition to sampling all kinds of great Caribbean foods, carnival-goers can stroll by vendor booths to enjoy artwork and crafts.  The festival also features a stage show featuring live Caribbean music and cultural performances.

Carnival Organization of Jacksonville, Inc. (COOJI) was founded in 1998 as a carnival costume producing band when it took part in the then Jacksonville Caribe Street Festival and Parade.  The first Jacksonville Carnival "On the Beach" was held in October 2000 at the beautiful Jacksonville Beach Seawalk Pavilion, in the city of Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Since changing its location to downtown Jacksonville at Metropolitan Park in 2005, the carnival is now known as Jacksonville Caribbean Mardi Gras Parade & Festival. Each year the carnival has gotten bigger and brighter.

COOJI is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness, understanding, open dialogue and appreciation of Caribbean people and culture.  A mission is to provide education and information on the various Caribbean nations including history and current day-to-day life. COOJI also seeks to provide opportunities for individuals and businesses to develop cross-cultural relationships within these nations.

Caribbean Carnival Week is the Second Week in September in Jacksonville.  Everyone is welcome to attend in this year’s festival. For more information, visit www.JacksonvilleCarnival.com.

Photo: Carnival Organization of Jacksonville, Inc.