Colourful costumes, festive music and a variety of Caribbean culture cuisine will fill downtown streets this weekend in honour of Cariwest’s 25th anniversary.

The Cariwest Caribbean Arts Festival is on a mission to present the best of Caribbean culture for the 25th year in a row with a marching, dancing and singing parade, accompanied by the food, sights and sounds of the Caribbean set up in Churchill Square.

“I’m so pumped I could hardly sleep,” festival president Donna Coombs-Montrose said.

“When we migrate as immigrants, we bring with us mental skills and culture — this festival is meant to showcase all these things.”

The festival kicks off with a show at the Shaw Conference Centre Aug. 7, where music and costumes will be presented. The parade will take place Aug. 8 at noon, travelling from 108 Street and Jasper Avenue towards Sir Winston Churchill Square.

“We’ve come such a long way,” Coombs-Montrose said. “It’s more than just a parade for us, so come dance and enjoy what we do.”

For the fifth year in a row, Kofi Ansu, owner of Sit&Chat restaurant, will be feeding festival goers with his Caribbean cuisine.

“Food is a big part of the culture,” Ansu said. “It’s great to be part of this and to share with people what the Caribbean is all about.”

Miss Caribbean 2009 and University of Alberta student Alicia Ellis said this is her first year of involvement with the festival and so far it has been a tremendous learning experience.

“There’s such a rich culture involved here,” Ellis said. “We’re bringing it to Edmonton and Canada.”