Believe it or not, my first carnival jump in the Caribbean was in Trinidad in 2020. My carnival love story began in 2015 at the Atlanta-Dekalb carnival. Since then, several military moves across the US have pushed me to pursue carnival experiences in different places. I will give you a list of US Caribbean Carnival events and some insight into those I have attended. For a list of worldwide Caribbean carnival events, click here (page under construction as of 3/19).
Note: The dates listed below include the parade dates only. Click the hyperlinks of the individual events for additional details.
Updated on 21 March 2023.
US Caribbean Carnival Events
April 22, 2023 – Tampa Bay Carnival
May 27, 2023 – Downtown Atlanta & Atlanta – Dekalb – Dekalb is where my Carnival love story began, and I make it a point to attend to go “home” yearly. An ongoing beef has plagued these two Carnival events since the split in 2015. To read up on the two Carnival events, click here (2022 version). For a transparent read on what happened in 2022, click here.
May 28, 2023 – Orlando Carnival
May 28. 2023 – Arizona
May 28, 2023 – San Francisco
Note: San Francisco is also a cultural parade, which means groups/troupes representing various cultures and backgrounds will also be in the parade.
June 10, 2023 – South Carolina – I attended SC carnival last year since it was just a stone’s throw away from me. SC carnival is a very small event but continues to grow yearly. To read my review on SC carnival, click here.
June 24, 2023 – Hollywood Carnival – I lived on the west coast for almost five years and attended Hollywood Carnival in 2018 and 2019. I will be returning in 2023. Although I won’t be playing with Winery Mas, I have been drawn to their fun, inclusive family vibe and will likely look to join them in the future.
Note: Hollywood Carnival is a culture fest, and you will see groups/troupes representing different parts of the world. Currently, 6 Caribbean mas bands will be on the road in 2023.
June 24, 2023 – Charlotte Carnival – I attended Charlotte carnival in 2022, one of the smaller events in the US. This is an excellent opportunity to play mas on a budget. Last year they had only one costume band. Watch out for the Black Hebrew Israelites (insert eye-roll here). Check out my 2022 Charlotte review by clicking here.
July 2, 2023 – Houston Caribbean Festival (HCF) – I attended in 2021 and 2022. Houston Carnival has been around for 20 years and continues to grow yearly. I have had a great time with Vogue Mas for two years. Please read my review on HCF here.
July 7- 9, 2023 – Baltimore
July 22, 2023 – Virginia Beach
July 23, 2023 – Atlantic City
August 19, 2023 – Chicago (TBD)
August 20, 2023 – Philadelphia
August 19, 2023 – Caribmask (Raleigh) – I hopped a red-eye from Los Angeles to attend this event with my road bestie in 2019. I also participated in 2022. Caribmask is an excellent location to test the waters before considering more expensive carnival events. I had a lot of fun last year! Read my Caribmask guide here (2022 version).
August 26, 2023 – Worchester Carnival
September 4, 2023 – New York Carnival – Attended in 2018 and 2019. NY Carnival has my heart. One of my fondest memories on the road was with Stronjeh in 2019. Many things have changed (legislation-wise) since COVID, and I am unsure how New York Carnival will look. Be sure to check the website for further details.
September 17, 2023 – Dallas Caribbean Festival
October 8, 2023 – Miami Carnival – Attended in 2019, 2021, and 2022. Miami is the BIGGEST Caribbean Carnival event in the United States and is held inside the Miami-Dade fairgrounds. I am not wild about playing mas in a circle, but it’s still a great time. I still haven’t found my go-to band, but I had so much fun with Canboulay Mas that I might hit them up again this year.
I just listed 19 US Caribbean Carnival events in one blog! There are great options for you to consider, especially if you are a carnival newbie trying to decide if the experience is something you want to invest bigger dollars in the future. There is nothing wrong with starting SMALL! I hope this navigates your carnival journey. If I missed a US carnival event, comment below! If you have any questions or comments, do the same, or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org