The wait is over for first Leamington carnival since 1996

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The stage has been set for Leamington’s first carnival in 18 years to parade through the town tomorrow (Saturday).

The carnival’s young committee of volunteers, which has an average age of about 23, has been working hard since the beginning of the year when the event was first announced.

There will be 13 floats and a band in the procession, which starts at 1pm, and a festival which will take place at the Pump Room Gardens from 11am to 5pm.

Committee chairman Jamie Walker, of the organisers CJ’s Events, said: “We’re feeling very positive about the event.

“A lot of support has been shown from groups and organisations which is shown by the number of floats we have.

“Everything we’ve had to do has been squeezed into six months and we’re hoping it all goes to plan.

“But everything’s ready and in place so we’re really looking forward to it and hoping for good weather.”

The procession lead by Carnival Queen Rachel and King Gavin will start a Beauchamp Avenue and finish in Dormer Place at about 2pm.

The main aim of the carnival is to raise funds for good causes in and around Leamington so people are encouraged to bring spare change to donate to the street collectors who will be following the procession with buckets in hand.

The escape to the seaside-themed festival will feature a variety of singers, bands and dance groups and a live DJ.

There will also be bouncy castles, children’s entertainment, a fun fair, food and drink stalls, shopping stalls and charity stalls.

A fundraising raffle, for which the top prize is a £100 voucher for Sainsbury’s, will be drawn at the festival at 4.30pm.

Leamington Art Gallery and Museum will be displaying a scrapbook which contains newspaper clippings about the carnivals that were held between 1966 and 1971.

Mr Walker said: “The last carnival procession was in 1996, then a ‘fun day’ carried on for another two years. But there was a lack of interest so it stopped.

“We felt like Leamington was missing something.

“The Kenilworth carnival attracts 10,000 people to the town every year.

“In 1976, the Leamington carnival saw 50,000 people in the streets. So it obviously used to be very popular.”

For more information about the carnival and the festival go online.