A piece of history is returning to Leamington this summer as the town’s carnival makes a come-back.
The Leamington-based CJ’s Events, which is involved in the organisation of the Kenilworth Carnival, had already planned to bring the beach to the town for an ‘Escape to the Seaside’-themed summer festival at the Pump Room Gardens. The company then decided to revive the carnival at the same time.
Jamie Walker of CJ’s 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 have had really good feedback from people so far. We felt like Leamington was missing something.
“In Kenilworth, the 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.”
Mr Walker said there will be 15 floats and walkers accompanied by a band, with the procession beginning in Beauchamp Avenue, travelling down the Parade towards the Pump Room Gardens, where the festival will be taking place.
The two-day festival, scheduled for July 12 and 13, will include a fun fair, 50 stalls and a ‘beach’ with 20 tonnes of sand, as well as live entertainment.
Speaking to CJ’s, Leamington mayor Cllr Judith Clarke said: “It is many years since Leamington enjoyed the unique atmosphere of a carnival, so I am delighted to learn that CJ’s Events are proposing to resurrect the event and form a local carnival committee.
“In towns where carnival committees are established to encourage involvement of the local community, the resulting event is enjoyed by people from all walks of life, with the added benefit of attracting visitors to the area. I look forward to following progress on this matter.”
The carnival committee is now taking applications for floats, a carnival band and other performers to take part in the carnival, which will take place on July 12. The company, which is already working with BID Leamington, is also looking for sponsors to help fund the event.
And in March, young people in Leamington will be invited to enter competitions to find a carnival queen, king, maid of honor, prince and princesses.
The committee is also keen to track down Michelle Davis, the last carnival queen in 1996, or anyone who knows her.
To contact the committee, call 800750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Courier cartoonist Ken Wilkins released this old video footage of the Leamington Carnival 1965: