The Rijeka Carnival starts on 17 January, but it won't be until a few days later, on 20 January, that the rule of the carnival-goers becomes “visible”. It is then that the key to the city will be officially handed over to them and the new Carnival Queen will be selected. The “Dvorana mladosti” sports hall will be the venue for the pageant, which will follow a well-established protocol – the carnival group representatives will have to demonstrate certain royal skills to the carnival-goers in order to win the “Golden Cape”. They are as follows: carnival spirit, familiarity with carnival customs, singing, dancing or another similar talent and, perhaps most importantly, a choreographed performance with a supporting carnival group. The Master of the Carnival, who is the traditional “head” of the Rijeka Carnival, will go on a tour of the carnival events in Rijeka and its surrounding area, as well as the rest of Croatia and other countries abroad as the representative of the Rijeka Carnival in the company of the 22nd Carnival Queen.
The programme of the Rijeka Carnival Queen Pageant and the handover of the City key will begin at 8 pm and as well as performances by the contestants, it will feature an array of musical performances and plays with lots of dancing, mostly by the supporting carnival groups, although the spectators have been known to join them on occasion.