Grand Carnivale: What to know about Kings Island’s new international festival launching this weekend

Kings Island is set to launch a new international festival celebrating the sights, sounds, smells and tastes from cultures worldwide.

Grand Carnivale takes place starting at 5 p.m. daily from Saturday through July 7.

The event at the 364-acre Warren County amusement park celebrates the traditions of India, China, Italy, France and Germany by offering guests a chance to sample each country’s cuisines, play its games, make its crafts and watch a daily parade, plus end the night with a party filled with international music.

Kings Island’s International Restaurant will re-open to the public for a Grand Carnivale-themed dining experience each night of the festival.

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“From the Eiffel Tower and International Street to the Royal Fountain, Kings Island the International theme is a nostalgic part of what our park is to so many of our guests, so providing them with an event that celebrates cultures from around the world was a natural fit,” said Kings Island spokesman Chad Showalter. “We’ve successfully launched other seasonal events in the past like Halloween Haunt, The Great Pumpkin Fest and Winterfest, and it just made sense to give our guests a special event in the summer.”

The Spectacle of Color Parade takes place daily at 8 p.m., starting at Coney Mall and making its way to International Street, where it will circle the Royal Fountain, Showalter said. The parade lasts between 30 and 40 minutes, and features its own musical score, Bollywood performers, a larger-than-life elephant made entirely of drums, a Jules Verne airship and floats.

The entire entourage will make its way to their country’s themed areas, where they will be available for photo opportunities. At four stops along the parade route, performers will entertain guests with choreography, a short show and opportunities for the guest to join in.

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Each day’s parade is followed by a street party filled with lights, live entertainment, and an interactive dance party, culminating in the park’s fireworks display at 10 p.m. each night. The event also will feature live music, deejays and a Friday and Saturday night concert series.

Those concerts will feature Brother Joscephus and the Love Revolution (June 15), Mystic Bowie’s Talking Dreads (June 21-22), Swift Technique (June 28-29) and Raffy (July 5-6).

Showalter said Kings Island has been preparing for the event for “more than a couple of years.”

Infrastructure upgrades made to the park for the return of WinterFest, and the enhancements made to the Royal Fountain and International street before the 2019 season were all critical to produce an event like Grand Carnivale, he said.

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