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Carnival In Los Angeles Is Perfect for First Timers
Written by: Mariette Williams
Los Angeles is known for its many entertainment tourist attractions, but it’s also home to the Hollywood Carnival. If you live on the west coast, forget having to take an international flight or cross country flight to New York or Miami to experience carnival activities. Now in its 7th year, the Hollywood Carnival is a relatively small Carnival event, but it’s perfect for anyone wanting to experience Carnival for the first time.
The Hollywood Carnival takes place each year during the fourth weekend in June, and it’s the perfect way to add a dose of Caribbean culture to a weekend visit to Los Angeles. It includes four days of activities that are held in various venues and clubs around Los Angeles, and requires separate tickets that could be bundled into affordable packages. The most expensive package was $200 and included VIP passes and admission to all six events.
The main event was the Saturday parade and concert. The free parade started at 10 a.m. and traveled down world-famous Hollywood Blvd. Most larger carnival parades can have over 20 masquerade bands, but the Hollywood Carnival parade included only five bands: Bamboo Mas, Extacy Mas, Mirage Mas, Winery Mas, and Sistas Wit Style. In between the bands, there were dancers and performers from South Asia, Mexico, and Central America, reflecting the diversity of Los Angeles.
The parade took a three mile route ending at the Culture Village, the enclosed area where the main stage concert took place. Once inside, there were several Caribbean food vendors, but unlike other Carnival events, there wasn’t much to do inside the Culture Village. The Culture Village experience could have been improved with more shade, more seating, or vendors to occupy time before the main stage performers arrived.
But once the concert began, thousands rushed to fill the stage area to hear from world famous soca performer, Machel Montano. Montano performed many of his hits including “Like Ah Boss” and “Soca Kingdom”. Montano was a high energy performer, and the concert was worth the price of the $20 general admission. The next day, there was a party at Boulevard3 Lounge and a final night of partying at Station 1640, signaling the end of an eventual week.
While it may not be the biggest Carnival event, the Hollywood Carnival is a great starting point for anyone who has never attended a Carnival before. Also, admission to events is affordable. Because of its size, you’ll see many of the same partygoers at events and easily make friends.