Share this publication
The Miami Broward Carnival – Celebrating All Things Caribbean
Friday, 8th October 2020
Sunday, 12th October 2020
- 1 What is Miami Carnival?
- 2 When is Miami Carnival?
- 3 Playing Mas
- 4 How is Miami Carnival celebrated?
- 5 Miami Carnival Parade of the Bands
- 6 Concerts and Music
- 7 Steelpan bands competition
- 8 J’ouvert Miami Carnival
- 9 Crowning of the Miami Carnival King & Queen
- 10 Miami Children’s Carnival
- 11 Where to party Miami Carnival?
- 12 Caribbean Street Markets
- 13 The Miami Broward Carnival Key Events
- 14 Where is the Miami Carnival?
- 15 How to Get to Miami Carnival?
- 16 Where to stay for Miami Carnival?
- 17 Getting around for Miami Carnival?
What is Miami Carnival?
The Miami Broward Carnival is one of the most exciting, interesting and colorful events held annually in Miami, Florida, USA. Miami Carnival is all about embracing and celebrating Caribbean heritage, culture, traditions, music and art.
Miami’s close proximity to the Caribbean means that the city of Miami has a prominent Caribbean-American community and every year they honour that community by hosting the most colorful Caribbean Carnival celebration in the USA.
The Miami Carnival attracts visitors from all over the world! But in particular thousands of party-goers will actually travel from the Caribbean Islands to Miami, to experience Miami Carnival.
When is Miami Carnival?
Miami Broward Carnival does not occur before the onset of Lent but actually held in early October one week before Columbus Day. In 2020 Columbus Day is held on Monday 12th October.
The peak of Miami Carnival events occurs between the Thursday and Sunday prior to Columbus Day. So most of the events will occur from Thursday 8th October until Sunday the 11th October 2020.
What is playing mas? Playing mas basically means that you are going to be a participant in the parade. What is a Mas Band? Mas is just an abbreviation of masquerade. A mas band or a carnival band is just a group of people that will perform together in the parade.
At Miami Carnival, there are twenty Mas Bands that will perform in the Parade of the Bands. Every year the Mas Bands must select a theme and then represent that theme through their costumes, music and dance. They must also depict traditional Caribbean folklore characters in the parade.
Anyone is welcome to join a mas band. All you have to do is pick your favourite mas band and purchase their chosen costume, mas Bands all wearing matching costumes from the same designer. The costumes are always bright, revealing, and feature lots of feathers, beads, sequins etc.
Most importantly you must be rhythmic and dance your heart out during the parade. Oh and I forgot you must have fun while doing so!
How is Miami Carnival celebrated?
The Miami Broward Carnival features non-stop events, competitions, music concerts and live performances. All these events culminate in the highlight of Miami Carnival – the Carnival Parade and After-Party Music Concert.
You can also sample delicious food and drinks from various Caribbean islands, see a steel band perform, check out a costume competition, attend a party or two, or even march in the parade yourself.
Miami Broward Carnival is an amazing Caribbean Carnival celebration that reflects the spirit, passion, traditions and vibrancy of the Caribbean cultures that are geographically very close to Miami yet quite different.
Miami Carnival Parade of the Bands
The Parade of the Bands is the main attraction of Miami Carnival. Every year over 50,000 revellers come out to watch. The Parade of the Bands is the most spectacular showcase of color, costumes, pageantry and fantasy.
The Miami Parade of the Bands features over 18,000 participants in 20 different masquerade bands. Accompanying the bands are large music trucks carrying sound-systems or DJs. They pump out the rhythmic Caribbean tunes for the participants to dance to.
The Mas Bands compete for the bragging rights of being awarded the “Best Band of the Year” and a large cash prize. The Mas Bands are marked by a panel of expert judges who critique them their costumes, creativity, authenticity, choreography, music, enthusiasm and presentation.
Concerts and Music
When the Parade of the Bands is over the party doesn’t stop there. There is a big live music concert which features Caribbean bands and musicians, mainly soca and steelpan bands. The concert draws big crowds of people who dance, drink, socialise and party the night away.
Steelpan bands competition
Another favourite event of the Miami Carnival is the steelpan bands competition. This is held on Friday night and sees several steelpan bands compete for the title of “Panorama Champion”.
This event is so much fun! There is a great atmosphere and it draws large crowds who come out to listen to the music, drink a little rum and eat some delicious Caribbean food.
J’ouvert Miami Carnival
Miami Carnival J’ouvert is a small parade that occurs at sunrise on the same day as the Parade of the Bands. It is a tradition that originated in Trinidad and Tobago.
It features lots of steelpan bands essentially walking through the streets making lots of noise. Participants will also throw mud, flour and paint at each other in keeping with the Trinidadian believe that it keeps the spirits away.
Miami Carnival J’ouvert is quite a spontaneous celebration that occurs that sees a lot of drinking, dancing to soca music and steelpan bands and tonnes of bright costumes.
Crowning of the Miami Carnival King & Queen
The Miami Carnival holds several competitions which are very popular to watch and take part in, if you so wish. The most popular competition of Miami Carnival is the crowning of the Carnival King and Queen. Another favourite is the Miss Miami Broward Carnival Pageant Competition.
Miami Children’s Carnival
The Miami Carnival also allows the kids to get involved and hosts a Junior Carnival Parade which occurs the week before the official carnival. It is essentially a mini version of the main parade. It is a colourful parade and is a lot of fun for the whole family. It allows the children to experience performing in a parade and is all about keeping the tradition alive for the next generation.
Where to party Miami Carnival?
Every type of party you can possibly imagine will be thrown the weekend of Miami Carnival! Foam Parties, glow parties, pool parties, raves and hundreds more. Miami is a party city during Miami Carnival there are parties held in clubs, restaurants, hotels, rooftops, boats, pools, wherever.
Many nightclubs will feature star performers and DJs but it’s up to your individual taste on what kind of party you feel like.
Caribbean Street Markets
During Miami Carnival street vendors fill the air with exotic smells. There is so much mouth-watering Caribbean food you can eat, from rice and beans to jerk chicken. Or why not drink some delicious Caribbean cocktails I mean the Caribbean is famous for their rum.
The vendors also sell gorgeous Caribbean arts and crafts, that come from many different Caribbean countries. There are clothes, jewellery, t-shirts, bags and so much more.
The Miami Broward Carnival Key Events
Below are the key Miami Carnival Events:
- Miami Carnival’s Panorama – Carnival Friday. 12:00 – 23:00. Central Broward regional park
- Show of Carnival Costumes Kings, Queens & Individuals – Carnival Friday. 16:00 – 19:00. Central Broward regional park
- Steel band Panorama – Carnival Friday. Central Broward regional park
- Miami Carnival J’Ouvert – Saturday Morning before Sunrise!
- Junior Carnival – Carnival Saturday. 12:00 – 21:00. Central Broward regional park
- Miami Carnival Grand Parade & Concert – Carnival Sunday. Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds
Where is the Miami Carnival?
The main events occur in the Central Broward regional park and the Parade of the Bands occurs in the Miami Dade County Fairgrounds.
- Central Broward Regional Park – 3700 NW 11th Place, Lauderhill, FL 33311.
- Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds – 10901 Coral way, Miami, Fl
How to Get to Miami Carnival?
The quickest way to get to Miami is to fly! The city has two well connected international airports. Fly into (MIA) Miami International Airport or (FLL) Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. To get a quote for a flight click here.
It is also easy to drive or take a bus/train if you don’t live to far away. Get a quote for a rental car here.
Where to stay for Miami Carnival?
Most of the events occur in downtown Miami, so if you want to be close to the action then that is the best place to stay. There is accommodation for all budgets. Plenty of hotels, hostels, apartment rentals or B&Bs available.
If you prefer to be by the beach, why not stay on Miami’s famous South Beach where there is always a party going on and you are close to the clear blue waters and pristine sands.
Check out some accommodation options here.
Getting around for Miami Carnival?
Miami has plenty of buses to get you around the city. However, it is usually much easier to just call an Uber or a Lyft to get you around quickly. Or consider renting a car. Get a quote for a rental car here.