The government of Akwa Ibom State has revealed plans to feature local singers during the 2023 Carol Festival, which is scheduled for December 15.
It also announced that its Christmas Park will be open from Friday, December 1 to Tuesday, January 2, 2024, in the Unity Park, Udo Udoma Avenue, Uyo.
Previous governments had invited TD Jakes, Alvin Slaughter, Donnie McClurkin, and others, as well as international choirs, to perform at the festivals, which were expected to cost the state a fortune.
During a press briefing on Tuesday at the Ibom Icon and Golf Resort in Uyo, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Charles Udoh, who introduced the month-long event's events, said, “The 2023 edition of the Christmas Park, formerly Christmas Village, is a rebranded and reloaded event with 100% local content to mostly accommodate the younger generation”.
Udoh claimed that the occasion was meticulously planned to highlight Governor Umo Eno's business efforts while also making Akwa Ibom more marketable.
He said this year’s Carol Festival, which has as its theme, ‘Arise, Shine, for Thy Light has Come’, drawn from Isaiah 60:1, would be streamed live on National Television, as well as the state government's social media handles.
He stated that each day will be set aside for hangouts for people from various sectors in the state, ranging from the governor, commissioners and their spouses, the legislature, journalists, and the elderly, to families, including the Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and Niger Delta communities, with a special emphasis on 'happy hour,' where randomly selected kiosks would be empowered with N100,000 upfront sales.
Traditional wrestling, tombola night, pageant and fashion performances, twin night, and Bob Marley tribute night are among the numerous side activities at the Akwa Ibom Christmas Park.