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Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival Draws Thousands of Tourists

Anselm Gibbs/ABC News(PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad) -- The 90-degree heat may have been a bit much for Peter Evenesan to handle, but it contributed to the right conditions for him to enjoy one of the world's largest street parties -- Trinidad and Tobago's carnival.

Every year in Trinidad and Tobago, the two days immediately preceding Ash Wednesday -- the day which marks the beginning of Lent for Christians -- are the days when the entire Caribbean nation shuts down, for two consecutive days of partying in the streets all across the nation. Those two pre-Lenten days are known as Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

Evenesan, who is a native of Norway, is all too familiar with the carnival happenings on the two tiny islands, as this year marks the fifth time he has been to carnival.

"I like it very much," Evenesan said, while speaking to ABC News on the streets of Port of Spain, which is the capital of the twin island Caribbean republic.

"Carnival for them out there is something they never will forget, they will enjoy it," Evenesan replied, when asked how he would describe the annual carnival celebrations to someone who has never been to Trinidad and Tobago for the festivities.

The 2012 installment of carnival was no different from previous years, as costume-clad men and women made their way through the streets dancing, jumping, and waving to the sound of soca music blaring from sound systems set up on tractor trailers manned by disc jockeys and live bands.

Those in costumes are part of different masquerade groups, better known as mas bands, with most bands providing their members with costumes, music, food and open-bar service, all for one price, for the two days of carnival.

"Oh my God, greatest show, period," said Trinidadian Karen Brathwaite, who was a member of the "Dream Team" masquerade band.

Brathwaite's description of carnival, mirrors the nickname given to the festival -- "The Greatest Show on Earth." And in true patriotic form, Brathwaite urged people from around the world to come experience it themselves.

"You're jumping for two days, nowhere else in the world you get to jump for two days on the road," said Brathwaite, 23.

The word about carnival seems to be out there, as Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Biessessar said that this year some 200,000 people from all over the world have come to Trinidad and Tobago for carnival.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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