That time of the year has come when all roads in the city - and beyond - leads to Park Street to bear witness to the largest festive season carnival in the eastern parts of the country. And this year, stage is set for the carnival to get bigger and better. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the Kolkata Christmas Festival today by turning all decorative lights on at 5.45 PM.
The carnival will begin today and continue till January 2. Apeejay Group is partnering the event with the West Bengal Tourism department. The carnival will also stretch between Free School Street and Camac Street crossing. To tinkle the taste buds and to satisfy gastronomic tourists and visitors, The Park will put up 25 food counters in front of Park Mansion. The food stalls will serve mouth-watering delicacies from other states, be it North Indian, South Indian and Gujrati dishes or delicacies like momos and thukpas from north-eastern states. There will be elaborate spread of Bengali sweets as well."
Starting from December 20 evening, there will be live entertainment. "The CM is inaugurating the festival for the first time as her visit last year got postponed. She is going to light up the entire Park Street. There will be live music, a majorly of which will be catholic carol singing," said a source in the tourism department.
Another senior official added, "On December 21 and 22, bands like Hip Pocket with Rila Banerjee, eminent singer Shayne Hyrapiet, popular bands like Plan B, Saturday Night Blues , Ifs and Buts, Krosswindz and Orient Express will belt out popular chartbusters. Karaoke champion Kamran Khurshid, DJ Austin Smith will also be a part of the carnival to enthral the crowd. This year, we are planning to hold a Snow Lion dance and another Dragon dance shows to be organized by school children. Kolkata Police band will perform on December 23."
A special attraction this year will be an Israeli food festival, to be organized by the Society for Rejuvenation of Park Street Kolkata (Spark). After the first three days, the carnival will stretch till the beginning of next year. A tourism department official pegged the expenditure for holding the festival to be around Rs 30 lakh.