From the archive: This article was from our original site -MyCityLife posted on 2 July 2014.
The Carnival traces its origins back to the Spring festival for Dionysus; the Greek god for wine, women and song. Through the ages, The Carnival has continued, encouraging revelry and celebration, from the Romans, across Europe and finally to the New World, particularly in New Orleans, where the rituals of African American voodoo and traditions of marching bands and jazz sees a distinctive approach to Carnivale. But further down south, Carnival’s humble beginnings as a Brazilian celebration marking the beginning of Lent has since blown out through South and Southern America as a multicultural mecca, with each country bringing their own traditional flavours to the mix. Wherever you are in the world, today’s Carnivale celebrates food, music, dance, carte blanche; where floats, parades and lavish costumes encourage carousing and gaiety.
And a trip to Rio or New Orleans is a mere drive down the Pacific Motorway to Warner Bros Movie World for special event Carnivale. Movie World comes alive with the sounds of samba and jazz, elaborate costumes and Carnivale cuisine. The greatest thing about New Orleans is definitely the food, and Movie World reproduces the authentic Cajun, Creole and Southern American style food stalls, set against a backdrop of coloured lights, talented performers and infectious music.
Watch Main Street transform with wandering performers, acrobats, jugglers, stilt walkers, fire spinners and dancers in bright and beautiful costumes. Beads upon beads are strewn around the necks of every man woman and child, as the smell of Deep South cuisine fills the air. But be warned, Carnivale cuisine requires a fork and napkin and is best enjoyed sitting on the grass. Every food stall holds its own personalised flavours and hotness of bottles of sauce at every food stall. Arriving with an empty stomach is a must because the food is never-ending.
Pulled Bourbon Street pulled pork and ‘slaw rolls and the Nawlin’s fried chicken po’ boys are packed full of southern flavour, while classic corn cobs to hot smokey all-American ribs and Bar-b-que Orleans dogs sees cutlery become obsolete.
But the main feature of the night would have to be the Seafood Boil, complete with Louisiana napalm. With a recast of the Louisiana backyard boil up set against Warner Brother’s own streets, mussels, clams, potato and corn are boiled up in impressive silver vessels, where jets of steam indicate the blistering heat. Seated on picnic tables covered in newspaper with bibs securely tied, these pots are then spectacularly turned before gaping mouths and eyes widened with surprise as steam collectively rise above. The chefs add the final touches to this show, with sprinkles of spices and clods of herbed butter. The boil up is communal feeding at its best – the kind of fine banqueting where juices down chins, wrists and bibs are runny badges of honour.
Leaving the tables is a feat in itself, and in spite of the full tummy, dessert can still win. There’s the choice of key lime pie or pecan pie…or both.
And of course, it wouldn’t be Carnivale without equally impressive drink options. Brightly coloured daiquiris – where alcohol-free options are available – and light-up ice cubes complement the festive surroundings, and if it weren’t for the childhood cartoon characters, you’d be convinced you were in the Americas.
Caribbean style steel bands take to the streets where voodoo rhythms form amongst the dark rumble of African drums set to New Orleans jazz tunes sees the park alive with music. The carefree improvisational sound of jazz has long inspired the Deep South to dance jubilantly down sun-drenched streets. And Carnivale wouldn’t be Carnivale without the parade. The evening’s wandering performers band together, for Main Street to stop in their tracks and watch the procession go by. Rich, syncopated rhythm blasts through speakers, as dancers move voluptuously to the grooves. Yes, this is our Carnivale, and you are expected to dance.
Photo Credit: Lady Lex