Samba dancers frolicked, steel bands played and the public basked in the sunlight for Preston’s annual Caribbean Carnival.Advertisement
I turned up on Fishergate around half an hour before the procession was due to arrive. The street was packed even more so than usual, lots of families waiting in anticipation, and quite a few bored children’s faces.
Those faces got even more hapless as the time ticked away, and still, no carnival. I began to wonder whether I’d missed the whole thing, and heart in mouth I asked some police officers whether they knew when the parade was due to arrive. It seemed that they were none the wiser. Looking down the street the most festive sight was a street vendor selling tacky carnival merchandise…
Finally, I heard the drums beating in the distance. Growing slowly louder, a march of dancers, musicians and fantastic costumes proceeded down the street, suddenly cheering everyone who had been waiting for so long.
Saturday’s dreaded rain was nowhere to be seen, as the procession which began in Moor Park continued into the city centre, before finishing in the picturesque Avenham Park.
Those lingering on the high street were missing the real party in Avenham. From 12:30 onwards there was a assortment of live music, fresh culinary delights and ahem, a rather good Harry Potter inflatable slide that a certain writer had too much fun on…
Live acts flocked from all over the UK to make this year’s event a truly special celebration. Dance teams, musicians and solo artists kept the eyes and ears of Prestonians entertained, while food ranging from hog roasts to curry kept their bellies full.
On reflection, it’s things like this that really help set Preston apart from its neighbouring Lancastrian towns and cities. Though sometimes events like today may feel few and far between, there is a real sense of community here, the desire to come together and socialise and celebrate. As I wandered amongst the crowds today there was such a diverse range of people, from families to students and young couples. Everyone had clearly seized the opportunity that the warm weather presented and wanted to support what has now become a local institution.
All in all, a lovely day out, and long may the carnival continue. I hope those of you who went along enjoyed it as much as I did!
Did you go to the Caribbean Carnival this year? How did it compare to last year’s? Comment with your thoughts and opinions below.
All photos by David Stubbings