Make donations directly to Twins Cities Carifest

Carifest is brought to you by our great sponsors and donations from our wonderful communities. Please make a donation in any amount to help keep Carifest going strong and make it even better for all our followers.


Become a Volunteer

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Twin Cities Carifest for the 28th-anniversary festival. We have a huge year ahead of us, and with your help, we are looking forward to producing a spectacular 2-day event.


Become a Sponsor

Carifest has grown every year and is planning for continued growth in 2021. Individuals and businesses recognize the value of the community-enriching event that promotes greater respect for diversity and inspires visitors of all ages.


Become a Vendor

Vendors are part of the community. They add to the variety of the festival as well as provide a very important aspect — the food. All types of vendors are encouraged to participate.

Twin Cities Carifest 2022

The mission of Carifest is to strengthen and to educate the greater community at large about Caribbean culture and current issues impacting countries in the Caribbean through the organization of cultural events. We strive to create a unified and culturally rooted Caribbean community within the Twin Cities while promoting philanthropy among local businesses.

Our vision is to bring to light the heritage of our underrepresented community while creating a platform for members to engage and share their culture with other communities. We see ourselves as one of the top leaders in the U.S. for Caribbean Carnival celebrations.

29 years and counting.....

What We Do

We are a 501(c)3 organization that manages all aspects of Carifest, the annual celebration of Caribbean arts and culture in Minnesota. We are a small group of volunteers who in addition to our regular jobs, contribute our time and efforts to raise funds, seek and book performers, secure licenses, and manage just about every little detail to put on this annual event.

Mission & Vision

The mission of Carifest is to strengthen and to educate the greater community at large about Caribbean culture and current issues impacting countries in the Caribbean through the organization of cultural events. We strive to create a unified and culturally rooted Caribbean community within the Twin Cities while promoting philanthropy among local businesses.

Carifest History

Twin Cities Carifest began as a grass-roots celebration of the Caribbean cultural heritage in 1994. Now approaching our 28th anniversary, Carifest has grown to provide festival-goers of all ages and backgrounds the ultimate arts fusion experience featuring: colorful Caribbean flair, danceable live calypso and reggae beats, vibrant parade costumes and more. Each element is as diverse as the islands themselves.

Masquerade Parade

Individuals or groups are welcome to participate in the parade. Showcase your company, cultural group, float or your own costume. Complete the registration or call 612-239-8384 for more information.

We also have costumes available for those interested. Contact 612-239-8384 or contact, providing the following information: name, age, gender, size and contact information.

International News

Latest News from around the Caribbean & much more

Our Local News

See whats happening around us

Learn about the Caribbean

Basic Information on Caribean Cultures and Traditions.

Trinidad & Tobago

The red base represents the vigor of the land in Trinidad and Tobago, the friendliness and courage of its people, and the sun. The black represents the unity and strength of the people, as well as the natural wealth of the country. The white represents the surrounding sea and the purity and equality of all people under the sun.

Antigua & Burbuda

In the Antigua and Barbuda flag, the star/sun combination represents the dawning of a new era. The red represents the energy of the people and the blue symbolizes hope. The African ancestry of the people is represented by the black. The sun, sand, and sea are represented by the flag's combination of yellow blue and white.


The green symbolizes Guyana's forests, vegetation, and agriculture. The Golden Arrowhead represents the country's mineral wealth and its golden future. The red stands for the country's eagerness and enthusiasm to embrace the nation-building process. The black indicates their perseverance and endurance.

Upcoming Events

Basic training course of Meta-Facilitation

Credibly supply optimal core competencies for next-generation outsourcing.


AUG 21

Tower Run

Credibly supply optimal core competencies for next-generation outsourcing. Interactively scale quality niches with robust core competencies


AUG 28

Courage Classic bicycle tour

Credibly supply optimal core competencies for next-generation outsourcing. Interactively scale quality niches with robust core competencies


AUG 16

The Carifest Team

James Byron originally from Trinidad and Tobago, has been living in Minneapolis, Minnesota since 1989. James has a degree in business management and currently owns and operates a retail business. James has been an active supporter of Carifest for more than 14 years. James is very interested in advancing the culture of Trinidad and Tobago and the West Indies as a whole throughout the Midwest.

James Byron

Director of Community Outreach
Donna Rankin is a native of Antigua and Barbuda. She attended college in Trinidad for stage production and dance. Once in Minnesota, she studied Event Planning. Ms. Rankin has been volunteering with Carifest and other non-profits for the past 17 plus years while staging many events and fundraisers. She has contributed her knowledge to her community in helping to build a better and stronger Caribbean community in MN.

Donna Rankin

Managing Director
Charles Peterson hails from Antigua & Barbuda and now lives in the Twin Cities. Charles, as a founding member of the Twin Cities Carifest and the new Co-Executive director, believes that culture defines a person. Charles is also a founding member of the Minnesota Cricket Association, and cricket is considered the glue that binds the West Indies. Charles has always been involved in cultural exchange and continues to be an ambassador for Caribbean culture, and advocates for a united West Indies.

Charles Peterson

Executive Director

Strengthening - Educating - Entertaining Our Community

Trinidad & Tobago

The country consists of two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and their small neighboring islands. Lying just north of the Orinoco River delta in Venezuela, Trinidad is largely flat or undulating except for a range of low mountains (the highest point is Mt. Aripo, 3,085 ft/940 m) in the north. Pitch Lake, in the southwest, is the world's largest (114 acres) basin of natural asphalt.

Tobago, just NE of Trinidad, is the exposed top of a mountain ridge that is densely forested with large reserves of hardwoods. The climate of both islands is warm and humid, and rainfall (from June to Dec.) is abundant, particularly where the trade winds sweep in over the eastern coasts. The population is mainly of South Asian or African descent (40% each), with a mixed-race minority. English is the official language, but Hindi, French, Spanish, and Chinese are also spoken. There are many religious groups, including Roman Catholic, Anglican, and other Christian churches, Hindus and Muslims.


The most important exports are petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, chemicals, steel products, and fertilizer. Trinidad possesses sizable oil and gas reserves, and its prosperity is linked directly to the production of petroleum and petrochemicals.

Agricultural Products

Agricultural products include cocoa, rice, coffee, citrus fruit, and flowers. The main trading partners are the United States, Jamaica, and Brazil.


The Mas tradition started in the late 18th century with French plantation owners organizing masquerades (mas) and balls before enduring the fasting of Lent. The slaves, who could not take part in Carnival, formed their own, parallel celebration called "Canboulay". Canboulay (from the French cannes brulées, meaning burnt cane) is a precursor to Trinidad and Tobago Carnival and has played an important role in the development of the music of Trinidad and Tobago.

Calypso music was developed in Trinidad in the 17th century from the West African Kaiso and canboulay music brought by African slaves imported to that Caribbean island to work on sugar plantations. These slaves, brought to toil on sugar plantations, were stripped of all connections to their homeland and family and not allowed to talk to each other. They used calypso to mock the slave masters and to communicate with each other. Many early calypsos were sung in French Creole by an individual called a griot. As calypso developed, the role of the griot became known as a chantuelle and eventually, calypsonian.


Stick fighting and African percussion music were banned in 1881, in response to the Canboulay Riots. They were replaced by bamboo "Bamboo-Tamboo" sticks beaten together, which were themselves banned in turn. In 1937 they reappeared, transformed as an orchestra of frying pans, dustbin lids, and oil drums. These steelpans (or pans) are now a major part of the Trinidadian music scene and are a popular section of the Canboulay music contests. In 1941, the United States Navy arrived on Trinidad, and the panmen, who were associated with lawlessness and violence, helped to popularize steel pan music among soldiers, which began its international popularization.


J'ouvert (translated from French as "break of day"), symbolizes the start of the official two days of Carnival. Beginning early Monday, revelers parade through town in the tradition of the Canboulay celebrations. Jouvay, as it is commonly known, features a variety of homemade or satirical costumes. This celebration involves participants dousing themselves in oil, mud, and powder while they dance to calypso music through the streets. This is a stark contrast to the attractive and more formal costumes that are donned later in the day on Carnival Monday and on Tuesday.

Antigua & Barbuda

This is an independent Commonwealth nation in the West Indies, in the Leeward Islands. It consists of the island of Antigua and two smaller islands, the more sparsely populated Barbuda and uninhabited Redonda. Saint John's, on Antigua, is the capital. Antigua is a hilly island with a heavily indented coast, while Barbuda is a flat coral island dominated by a large lagoon on its western side. Most residents are of African ancestry. Anglicanism is the predominant religion.

Tourism is the most important industry, and the on-line gambling and offshore financial services sectors generate additional foreign currency earnings.

Agriculture, fishing, and manufacturing (bedding, handicrafts, and electronics) also contribute to the economy. Periodic hurricanes can cause heavy damage to the islands. The country has a parliamentary-style government with a bicameral legislature. The British monarch is the titular head of state, but primary executive power lies with the prime minister. Many inhabitants of Barbuda, culturally and politically distinct from Antiguans, have pressed for independence from the larger island.


The Antiguan Carnival is a celebration of the emancipation of slavery in the country held annually from the end of July to the first Tuesday in August. The most important day is that of the J'ouvert, in which brass and steel bands perform for much of the island's population.

Barbuda's Carnival, held in June, is known as Caribana. The Antiguan and Barbudan Carnivals replaced the Old Time Christmas Festival in 1957, with hopes of inspiring tourism in Antigua and Barbuda. Some elements of the Christmas Festival remain in the modern Carnival celebrations.

It is a ten-day festival of colorful costumes, beauty pageants, talent shows, and especially good music. The festivities, which celebrate emancipation, range from the Party Monarch and Calypso Monarch competitions of Calypsonians, the Panorama steel band competition, and the spectacular Parade of Bands to the Miss Antigua Pageant and the Caribbean Queen's Competition. In addition to these major events, the nonstop revelry of this eleven-day carnival includes innumerable smaller festivities, including local concerts, food fairs, parades, and cultural shows.


East Guyana is separated from Suriname by the Courantyne (Corantijn or Corentyne) River. The Akarai Mts. form the southern border with Brazil. Several rivers make up much of the western border with Brazil and Venezuela, and the Essequibo River flows through the center of the country. There is a cultivated coastal plain and a forested, hilly interior. The climate is hot and humid, and the rainfall is heavy.

Most of the population lives along the coast. About half of the people trace their ancestry to India, and the rest are of African, mixed, or indigenous descent. English, Hindi, Urdu, and various indigenous dialects are spoken. Christianity and Hinduism are the main religions, and there is a substantial Muslim minority. The Univ. of Guyana in Georgetown was founded in 1963.

Agriculture and mining are the principal economic activities. Sugarcane and rice are the leading crops, and wheat, corn, coconuts, and citrus fruit are also grown. Cattle and other livestock are raised. Bauxite, gold, diamonds, and manganese are mined. There are large forest resources (notably greenheart and balatá) that have been exploited.

The chief exports are sugar, gold, bauxite, alumina, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, and timber. Imports include manufacturers, machinery, petroleum, and foodstuffs. Reforms were instituted in the late 1980s to liberalize the country's economy and to attract foreign aid and investment, and the economy grew in the 1990s and early 2000s. The United States, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, and Great Britain are the most important trading partners.


Guyana Carnival is a privately owned festival in Georgetown Guyana. It’s an amalgamation of influential entertainment bodies, the Government of Guyana, and other key stakeholders to create a new exciting product to boost tourism, entertainment, and nightlife in our emerging city.

It has attracted thousands of tourists, locals, and carnival chasers daring to indulge in something new and exciting. The nonstop party includes an action-packed week of activities fused with Guyanese culinary, music, entertainment, and masqueraders which culminates at the highly anticipated Finish Line.

This idea was birthed out of Guyana's 50th Independence celebration when the country recorded thousands of arrivals of visitors to Guyana. The Minister of Tourism at that time, the Honorable Cathy Hughes had eluded to the fact that Guyana should capitalize on celebrating this event on a grand scale annually. With this call to action serving as the catalyst, the committee saw it fit to formulate a grand event to satisfy the demand of the masses. The event will be marketed heavily both locally and internationally in collaboration with media houses and event coordinators throughout the Caribbean, North America, and Europe.

what is the difference between Mashramani and Carnival?

Mashramani is our local cultural festival “celebration after hard work” as defined by the Amerindians and celebrates Guyana becoming a republic. It is a cultural festival and parade to be enjoyed by all ages. Ministries and local companies participate in a float parade, which is then judged by a panel based on cultural themes.

Carnival is a series of events leading up to a day of “mas” or masquerades where revelers can frolic in an all-inclusive experience on the streets. A carnival is basically a “big private party” for adult revelers to enjoy events and then one-day carefree masquerading.