Kendal Torchlight Carnival

Kendal Torchlight Carnival
Photo: kendaltorchlightcarnival.co.uk
Kendal, a small market town in the English county of Cumbria, is known as a producer of pipe tobacco and tobacco snuff, as the home of Kendal mint cake, and as a center for tourism. One of the town’s major tourist attractions is the Kendal Torchlight Carnival. Held every September, it attracts thousands of visitors from all over the United Kingdom.

The Kendal Torchlight Carnival was founded in 1970. It takes place on the Friday following the Westmorland County Show, an annual agricultural show that is also held in Kendal. The event is run by unpaid volunteers who dedicate their time and effort to organizing a gathering “for the people, by the people”.

What started as a relatively modest procession with just 30 floats has grown to become one of the largest and most anticipated events in Cumbria. The Kendal Torchlight Carnival features more than 130 decorated floats, dance and carnival troupes, bands, and other participants. Anyone can participate because the carnival is accessible to all members of the community without exception.

The procession starts around 7.30pm on Friday evening and follows a set route around the town center. It lasts for about three hours. The Kendal Torchlight Carnival is unlike any other Carnival procession, because everything looks even more beautiful when illuminated with torchlight. The next day, there is a large and boisterous street party in the town center. It features a live stage that hosts music acts and performers, various workshops, food and drink vendors, and more.

One of the main highlights of the party is the Torchlight Trophy presentation ceremony. The Torchlight Trophy is presented to the best procession participants in various categories. The categories may change from year to year. For example, the 2016 categories included Best Live Music, Best Foot Group, Best School Group, Best Youth Group, Best Business / Commercial Entry, Best Costumery, Best Carnival Band / Entertainers, Best Charity Group, Best Young Farmers, Best Visual Impact, Best in Parade Runner Up, and Best in Parade.

Kendal Torchlight Carnival

Photo: thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk



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