Preston flag market was awash with sound and colour yesterday afternoon, playing stage to King and Queens vying to lead the Caribbean Carnival procession next weekend.
On one of the hottest days of the year, activities kicked off at 12pm with Brouhaha dance company providing eye-catching and elaborate costumes for the public to wear. At 1pm, crowds began to gather around a fenced enclosure where the Kings and Queens would later showcase their costumes, and Preston Steel Connection set the mood with traditional Caribbean music.
After a few introductory words from Dian Flanagan, Chair of Preston Caribbean Carnival, and the introduction of the judging line-up led by new Preston Mayor Carl Crompton, the contest got under way. Five pairs of King and Queens took part in total, and each brought their own distinctive style to the show. The costumes, some of which took three or four months to make, featured Caribbean and African themes, including a giant man with a token drum, tigers and bees.
It was up to the judges to make their decision about who would lead the procession from Moor Park to Avenham Park at the Carnival itself on Sunday 3rd June. For those unable to wait until then, the winners were announced at the official presentation party at Jalgos Sports Club later that evening. The winning couple will don their costumes again next week, and they will be joined by hundreds of others in what is set to be the most impressive Caribbean Carnival in recent years.
One of the Guild Mayor’s first tasks was to judge the costumes yesterday, and the strength of the contenders ensured that Mr. Mayor didn’t have an easy task. Talking about the Caribbean Carnival and what it means to the people of Preston, he said: “Preston Council has been supporting the Caribbean Carnival for fifteen years now, and we think it is a wonderful opportunity for the Caribbean section to show what they can give to Preston, and it is well received by everyone in the city. A fabulous event”.
Samantha Blackburn, Guild Cultural Development Manager, said: “This is the first year that we have encouraged the public to get dressed up and get involved, and Brouhaha dance company deserve extra credit for their fantastic costumes. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, and the Carnival next week is shaping up to be an unforgettable event in the Guild calendar”.
Check out our video and a slideshow of pictures from the event below.
What did you think of the costumes yesterday? Who would you have chosen as your Caribbean Carnival King and Queen?