Northampton Carnival

Northampton Carnival
The Northampton Carnival is an annual event that celebrates multiculturalism. It runs over two days in June in the town of Northampton, England. The carnival strives to foster, encourage and promote multicultural understanding, as well as to provide the population of Northampton with high quality entertainment with a multicultural flavor.

The Northampton Carnival is one of the oldest carnivals in the United Kingdom (as long as non-continuously running events count). The earliest documentary evidence of the carnival is a photo taken in 1914 which depicts a float going past the Guildhall. The event was at its peak during the 1970s and 1980s.

The carnival went on an indefinite hiatus in the late 1990s, partly because of competition with the St Crispin Street Fair which took place in October. In 1997, a group of enthusiasts established a multicultural festival named Roots and Culture Fest that was held in the summer until 2004 after which it merged with the revived carnival.

In 2004, a small group of volunteers took up the challenge of reviving the Northampton Carnival and introducing the residents of Northampton to various cultures. They named themselves the Northampton Carnival Arts Consortium and produced the first revived carnival on June 11, 2005. The Northampton Carnival has been held every year since, becoming one of the city’s most important cultural events.

The Northampton Carnival is held on a Saturday in June, although there are some events held on the preceding Friday. The central event of the carnival is a vibrant procession through the town center. It leaves the Racecourse (an open park situated in the center of Northampton) in the afternoon, travels down the Kettering Road and then returns to the park.

Alongside the spectacular parade showcasing different cultures, the carnival features live entertainment on stage, an exciting fun fair, workshops from community groups, and a wide range of community stalls.

Since the revival of the Northampton Carnival in 2005, each edition has had a unique theme. Past themes have included “Celebrate Masquerade”, “Colors of the Rainbow”, “Masque – Exploring Dual Identities”, “Earth, Wind, Fire and Water”, “Sole of the People”, “Celebrate Nature: A Carnival Safari”, “A Carnival Fantasy of the World in Colors”, “A Storybook Carnival”, “Five Continents… One Carnival”, “Celebrate the Wonder of Nature”, “Peace, Hope & Unity Through Carnival”, and others.

Northampton Carnival

Photo: Roley Flex




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