Tuesday, 31 July 2012


This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:

Carnival returning to streets
Caribbean carnival-goers will be back on parade this weekend.Last year, a lack of money meant organisers were unable to hold the procession through Leicester's streets.
But this year, they hope 100,000 people will watch its return or join the celebrations in Victoria Park.
The procession will go from the park to the Clock Tower, while people in the park can enjoy Caribbean specialities such as jerk chicken and listen to steel bands and calypso music.
Organiser Dennis "Sugar" Christopher said the music would reflect the carnival culture of the Caribbean and have more acts aimed at youngsters.
He said: "I've been listening to people who say the carnival does not cater for young people.
"So this year I've taken a leaf out of the book of the Olympics, where the opening ceremony had young people lighting the cauldron.
"On the park, we're going to have more youngsters performing as well as national and international acts and bands."
Many young people will also be among the 1,000 dancers taking part in the carnival procession, which will set off from Victoria Park at 1pm on Saturday and pass down London Road into the heart of the city and back up Gallowtree Gate.
London Road to the south of the park will remain shut throughout the procession, while temporary road closures will affect Granville Road, Northampton Street, Charles Street, Belgrave Gate and Granby Street.
However, the longer-term future of the carnival remains uncertain.Leicester City Council is reviewing how much money it contributes to the event.
The carnival costs about £200,000. The council is considering gradually reducing its contribution from £100,000 to about £60,000 in three years' time.
Mr Christopher said it was important the Caribbean Carnival continued as an annual event.
He said: "People enjoy the carnival – the procession, music, floats, costumes and performances.
"The University of Leicester did research last year and found a wide range of people come to the carnival.
"It also brings a lot of people to the city and helps businesses."The carnival brings serious wealth to Leicester.
"We've got to do a lot of fund-raising ourselves and there will be buckets on Saturday so we ask people to come along and to please give generously."
Councillor Piara Singh Clair, assistant city major for leisure, said: "There is a review going on but we are very keen to promote processions and activities like this in the city.
"I think we do need to keep it going.
"I've been the past couple of years and I'm looking forward to going again on Saturday."

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