Montreal’s Carifiesta Transforms into ‘Carimas’

Montreal ‘Carifiesta’ returns this summer as ‘Carimas’

By Stephen Weir

Montreal costume

The release of a much-anticipated Friday press release quickly got the Montreal media buzzing about the return of the carnival to the city this summer. Last year, the annual Carifiesta parade was cancelled by the city due to funding issues, but as of April 12th, it is back. However, instead of calling the event Carifesta, it will be known as the Montreal “Carimas” Festival — a blend of “Caribbean” and “masqueraders.”

According to the Montreal Gazette daily newspaper, “This year’s event, which will include four separate activities culminating with the parade and after-party on July 6th. The parade route and the location for the Caribbean cultural festival afterward have not been determined yet.”

The 2024 festival is being organized by The Caribbean Coalition Network of Montreal (CCNM). The CCNM aims to create opportunities for cultural exchange, foster community pride and unity, empower youth, and celebrate the rich diversity that enriches Montreal’s cultural landscape. The Carimas Festival will comprise four different aspects, including two pageants for pre-teens, teenage girls, and young adults, a kiddie’s/junior carnival (Petit Carimas), the grand street parade, and the cool down and show in the park (Carimas Sizzle).

“All events will happen over a one-month period beginning with the pageant in June and ending with the Sizzle. We wanted the shows to include more about the culture of the Caribbean this year, and not just be about the parade,” said Kris Bennett, spokesperson for the CCNM. “That’s why we will have two pageants, and a kiddie Carimas festival that will have only children under 18 in the parade, so they get to enjoy the full experience for themselves.”

Apparently, the CCNM was contacted by the city to put together the newly branded carnival this year. The organization is an umbrella group for Montreal-based associations representing seven Caribbean islands.