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Caribana Festivities Kick Into High Gear

Financial pressure may have made planning this year’s Caribana festival a challenge, but funding cuts haven’t put a damper on spirits as the party kicks into high gear this week.

The King and Queen competition took over Lamport Stadium Thursday night. Competitors were judged in half a dozen categories, including creativity and craftsmanship.

The 43rd edition of Caribana has been a tough one due to budget shortfalls. The festival received about $400,000 in funds under the Marquee Tourism Events program – a two-year federal stimulus plan – in 2009, but didn’t receive the cash this year.

And provincial funding was less than expected this year, as well. Staff had their pay slashed in an effort to ride out the budget problem.

The festival attracts more than one million people.

Pan Alive will fill the King Street West area with the sounds of the steel pan. Members of the Ontario Steelband Association will compete for honours at the event that happens at Lamport Stadium Friday night, starting at 7pm.

And the climax of Caribana festivities – the parade – starts Saturday at 10am at Exhibition Place and makes the 3.6 kilometre trek along Lake Shore Boulevard. The massive event wraps up around 6pm.

Considering the length of this event, you might want to buy tickets for seating at the Ex. They cost $20 for adults and $17 for kids and seniors. Or, you can stake out a spot along the Lake Shore and watch for free.

The parade after-party, called “Temperature De Festiva”, takes place at Lamport Stadium Saturday at 6:30pm. It will cost $25 to get in.

And if Saturday’s festivities leave you feeling hungry the next morning, you can head to the Caribbean Food Festival at Ontario Place Sunday from 10am to 8pm. Tickets are $19.10 for adults and $12.64 for kids and seniors.

And families are expected to flood Ontario Place Sunday for the Caribana Lime. Tickets are $19.10 for adults and $12.64 for kids and seniors.

For a full listing of events, click here.