Best Overlooked Festival

That sound you heard near Clifton Park on July 14 was not summer thunder. It was the rumblings of flatbed trucks loaded to a crawl with makeshift walls of speakers, Calypso singers, and mud-caked dancers. Slinking its way along East 33rd Street, the colorful parade of participants from pretty much all the islands south of Florida kicked off the city's most underrated festival, the first Baltimore/Washington One Caribbean Carnival. This year the Baltimore (founded in 1981) and D.C. (founded in 1993) fests merged for the first time and moved from the traditional venues, Druid Hill Park and inner D.C., to Clifton Park on Baltimore's east side. Unlike the other ethnic festivals, whose organizers drape banner upon banner across downtown intersections, the Caribbean Fest goes pretty much unnoticed by most of the city's residents. Which is a shame. Or maybe not. Do you really want White Marsh fannypacks breaking up the lines of beautiful dancers?

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