The organisers of the event also promised to give visitors a time of their lives during the 2016 edition.
Speaking after the inauguration on Sunday in Calabar, Ayade said that the celebration marked the 12th anniversary of the carnival.
The governor, who disclosed that the theme of the 2016 carnival is `Climate Change,’ described the carnival as `the largest street party in Africa.’
He said that the carnival had promoted talent and creativity, adding that it had united the people of Cross River and Nigeria in general.
“Today, we are flagging off the 12th annual Calabar carnival, the largest street party ever; the greatest show in Africa.
“We promised to make this year’s carnival the best and fun loving ever,’’ he said.
Ayade lauded the efforts of the people of Cross River and the participants for coming out en mass for the dry run.
He used the occasion to invite tourists from all over the world to visit Calabar during this season to experience an exciting carnival.
Mr Gabriel Onah, Chairman, Calabar Carnival Commission, said the carnival had continued to grow from strength to strength with new innovations added yearly.
“We are celebrating 12 years of Cross River carnival, 12 years of oneness and unity, 12 years in showcasing what we have and what we are’" Onah said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that five carnival bands which include Seagull, Master Blaster, Passion 4, Freedom and Bayside will be participating in this year’s carnival.
NAN also reports that the participants were beautifully dressed in different attires, while security was mounted in all the carnival routes.
Dignitaries at the ceremony included, the Deputy Gov. Prof. Ivara Esu, Speaker of the state Assembly, Mr John Gaul-Lebo, Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa among others.