Carnevale! Venice Beach, a masquerade street festival based on the carnevale traditions of Venice, Italy fused with Venice, California’s own bohemian arts culture, returns on Halloween weekend noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, October 28th, and co-producer Miriam More “insists” that revelers show up in the grandest of costumes.

“We hope that since it’s taking place around Halloween that everyone will get the full carnevale experience and create their own costumes to match their own character,” says More.

Carnevale! Venice Beach will feature two stages of live bands and entertainment, including a fire-eating performance troupe, belly dancers, a man who submerges himself inside a balloon and a costume contest.

The Key Frances/Deep Eddy group heads up the main stage, located within the Windward Circle, at 6:30 p.m. with a bluesy, psychedelic sound the group describes as Hendrixesque. After which, revelers with the most bedazzling costumes will parade on stage for the Carnevale! Costume Contest, with winners to be announced at 8:45 p.m.

The Harissa Bellydance Troupe and Inferno, Inc., a fire-eating group known for elaborate performances at the Burning Man Festival, will lead the Carnevale into the night. Festivities are scheduled to end around 10 p.m.

The second stage, located on Grand Avenue, will be emceed by the maven of schtick — uproarious public access television personality Count Smokula. Rock and soul group Sugarbitch will be the closing performers on the second stage at 5 p.m.

The beer and wine garden, located northeast of the Windward Circle, will also feature live music from 2 to 9 p.m., including performers such as The Backboners, Leon Rubenhold and Kathy Leonardo.

KCRW DJ Jason Bentley, who spins eclectic electronic music and world beats, and who now also hosts Afterhours, a weekly show on KROQ, will be featured at the DJ booth, along with an eclectic lineup of DJs who will pass the torch throughout the program.

Carnevale! Venice Beach is produced by Esquire Jauchem with Miriam More and Bonnie Cheeseman in association with the Venice Chamber of Commerce. Brady Walker is this year’s stage manager. Carnevale is supported in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and a portion of this year’s proceeds will go to benefit the coastal environmental group Heal the Bay.

More and Carnevale organizers say they owe special thanks to the efforts of local Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and his field deputy Mark Antonio Grant. This year’s Carnevale, originally scheduled for Saturday, May 13th, was at first canceled due to a disagreement between Carnevale organizers and the Los Angeles Police Department over a permit to serve liquor at the event.

According to More, Rosendahl and Grant helped resolve the issue and see to it that the anticipated event was rescheduled for Saturday, October 28th.

“This is a community event to lift up everyone’s spirits with costumes, music, and the energy of Venice Beach,” says More. “As a sister city to Venice, Italy, we wanted to create a similar atmosphere in the fashion of their famous carnevale tradition.”

Information, (310) 439-1702.

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