Iowa City’s first carnaval hits the streets
By Ben Lewis for Iowa Now
It takes more than a few raindrops to quash carnaval.
Sunday morning, a vibrant stream of marchers took the streets of downtown Iowa City, bringing a taste of island, Latin American, and global urban tradition to the annual Iowa Arts Festival. The gray skies didn’t stand a chance.
The June 9 parade was the capstone for a project developed by Loyce Arthur, University of Iowa associate professor of theatre arts, who’d like to make the parade an annual event.
Community members spent a year developing costumes, puppets, and props, including the River-of-Stories, a collection of Iowa memories transcribed to cloth and carried by marchers.
“A carnaval parade is art on parade to celebrate both individuality and community,” Arthur says. “In an increasingly technological and impersonal world, the carnaval arts can be used to bridge differences and celebrate human resilience and creativity.”