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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Watching the parade is still FREE

They aren’t charging admission to watch the parade.
I thought it was pretty clear when the map for the new parade route was released, but we have been getting hits on our blog from people searching for Caribana fee, and Caribana admission and yesterday my mom came to me and asked why are they charging a fee to go to the parade? So I guess a little work has to be done to make this clearer.
I’m not entirely convinced that some of these “admission to the parade” rumours weren’t intentionally spread by folks who don’t want to see the festival succeed. I have read articles by people who certainly know better, and their articles contain inflammatory comments and misinformation.
So here goes:  

If you are accustomed liming  along the Lakeshore and watching the parade, nothing has changed for you. You will still be able to do this.

What has changed is that the parade will make a circle within the CNE before it enters the Lakeshore close to Ontario place and heads West as it has for the last several years.

There are additional paid seating areas, but these will not infringe on traditional free viewing spots. The new bleachers areas are located within the CNE close to BMO field and the cost to sit there is $15. Here you will get a view of the parade free of stormers. There is also a VIP tent area located near to the judging point at a cost of $50 per person. In that same area, you can even rent a private tent for you and your crew for $150 (in addition to your $50 per person admission). You can get these tickets at www.torontocaribbeancarnival.com

Now for the commentary portion, I'd like to touch on where this seating money goes. As I have heard, this new revenue will go to the festival management committee (FMC) to cover the costs of running the festival. I have also heard that band leaders are wondering, if people are going to be paying money to see the bands, shouldn’t the band leaders get a cut of this?
By extension, us as masqueraders are paying for the privilege of contributing to the parade. If this parade is going to generate this new income, and if any of this filters down to the band leaders, do you think you can at LEAST hold the line on costume prices?
If the band leaders aren’t going to directly be given a cut of this income, perhaps some of the revenue will be used for extra fences and security to minimize the stormer impact on the parade. I mean, we put on the show, can we get a little help here?
On the topic of security, now that there will be this longer route with more paying spectators, I really hope that this doesn’t mean that the bands will be left to their own devices to deal with crowd control once we pass the judging area and hit the Lakeshore. I really hope that the same crowd control measures are in place and are enhanced at known weak spots. Please don’t focus your efforts on the keeping stragglers out of the paid areas and let the rest of the route slide. I’m not saying that’s the plan, I’m just saying that better not be the plan.
If you are still looking for something to do tonight, don’t forget this evening is the King and Queen competition at Lamport Stadium. You can still pay at the door if you don’t have tickets, but I’d reach early as seating is limited.  
This is what we have all been waiting for, Carnival time is now, have a time, take care of yourself and each other.

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