Parades, party mark Aruba's Carnival

ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- With sequins, feathers, music and food, Aruba's 48th annual Carnival season will be in full swing Feb. 2 with the Tivoli Lighting Parade.

While Carnival began Jan. 5, events will continue through Feb. 12, most of which will be held in the cities of Oranjestad and San Nicolas, both tourist-friendly.

Several parades full of costumed dancers, floats and bands will wind through the streets, luring spectators with street dancing and impromptu jam sessions.

A schedule of some of the more popular events, according to a spokeswoman for the Aruba Tourism Authority, follows:

• Tivoli Lighting Parade, Feb. 2. The parade of lighted costumes and floats winds through the streets of Oranjestad beginning at 9 p.m.

• Jouvert Morning, Feb. 9. Carnival's biggest "jump-up" street party begins at 4 a.m. in San Nicolas. The Carnival Parade also is held in San Nicolas on the same day, beginning at 2 p.m.

• Grand Carnival Parade, Feb. 10. Starts at 11 a.m. and continues into the evening.

• Carnival Monday, Feb. 11. The day is a national holiday, providing an official day of rest. All banks, government offices, businesses and stores are closed. The Old Mask Parade marks the end of carnival season in San Nicolas.

• Old Mask Parade and Burning of King Momo, Feb. 12. The official end of Carnival comes on the eve of Ash Wednesday with the burning of King Momo, a straw doll that is said to hold the key to the island.

For more information on Aruba's Carnival, contact the Aruba Tourism Authority at (800) TO-ARUBA or visit the Web site at www.aruba.com.

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