The Caribbean Festival Likely Won’t Happen This Year

Photo by PoPville flickr user rjs1322

Back in March a reader was curious about the status of this year’s Caribbean Festival given the violence of last year. Last night the Georgia Ave Task Force heard a presentation about the festival. ANC1B09 rep Lauren McKenzie tweeted:

“Caribbean Carnival pres & exec dir stated that unless something changes in 24-48 hrs there will NOT be a carnival this year.

They owe the city $210K from last yr. City officials arent responding to letters, calls etc to request help make this yr possible.”

A reader who attended the meeting sent the following summary:

Looks like carnival is dead, if no financial help in 48 hours. Need over 200k to pay security and clean up to carry on. Howard University impact study says it’s a benefit to community, says bring in 4 million in revenue. Not clear on tax revenue… Mr Graham still supports festival, but unrelated homicide last year has caused mayor office to remain silent in support. City said in Jan that it would not support if money can’t be raised, which was last meeting festival had with mayor.

By the end of meeting it became clear that if the money isn’t raised and a clear plan presented to city by end of April, then that doesn’t leave enough time to get the word out.

This is a failure and disappointment on many many levels. I stand by my final thoughts from last year.

Update from DC Caribbean Festival’s Facebook page:

This morning the DC City Paper wrote an article that states DC Carnival is Cancel. This is not true. We attended a meeting last night with the lower Georgia Avenue Business Community to provide an update on DC Carnival 2012. We express the financial challenges the Carnival is facing with respect to City services and that we are exploring alternatives to Georgia Avenue this year. We never mentioned canceling the Carnival but I guess this makes for bigger and better news. This confirm to us that we are facing an uphill battle to sustain our culture in this ever changing DC community. We no longer can depend on the City to help us. This is a wake up call for us to help ourself. If we do not mobilize as a community and show the City that we are important and we do make a difference then the headlines might prove to be true.

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