(PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad) -- Carnival celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago took full flight on Monday and Tuesday, as hundreds of thousands of masqueraders and spectators lined the streets of the twin-island republic for a giant street party.
Dubbed "The Greatest Show on Earth," Trinidad and Tobago's carnival takes place annually on the Monday and Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday. Those days are known to locals as Carnival Monday and Tuesday, and are days when schools and businesses shut down for citizens to enjoy the massive carnival celebrations. The 2011 installment of the 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, open-bar service for the two days of carnival, and even mobile washroom facilities as the revellers made their way through the streets in the blazing sun. It's one big all-inclusive party, with the streets set as the venue. The mas bands comprise of locals as well as nationals from numerous countries around the world. Trinidad and Tobago's carnival is also an attraction to many celebrities, with actor Idris Elba, along with two of the stars of BET's The Game television series, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Hosea Chanchez, in attendance this year.
Trinidad and Tobago's national instrument, the steel-pan, is also a prominent fixture in the celebrations, as dozens of steel-pan bands could be seen and heard throughout the street parade belting out calyspso and soca tunes for the masses.
The parade isn't just a pointless one, as mas bands passed through several judging points along their routes, competing for the title of "Band of the Year." Musically, there was also competition, as the song that is played most frequently at judging points over the two days is awarded the "Road March" title. The clear frontrunner for this year's Road March title was Advantageous by Marchel Montano, which could be heard over and over at judging points throughout the city of Port of Spain, the nation's Capital.
While similar carnival celebrations are held in other places throughout the world, such as in Brazil and other Caribbean islands, Trinidadians and Tobagonians, in true patriotic fashion, refer to their carnival as being the best in the world.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio