100 days to go in Leeds carnival countdown

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The countdown is on as Leeds gears up to celebrate the return of Europe’s longest running authentic Caribbean carnival.

There are just 100 days to go until more than 100,000 revellers are expected to take to the city’s streets for the Leeds West Indian Carnival.

Nisha Pankhania at last summer's Leeds West Indian Carnival.

Nisha Pankhania at last summer's Leeds West Indian Carnival.

And organisers are hoping the 48th celebration – on August 31 – is one of the city’s biggest outdoor events of the year.

Last year the event is believed to have brought an extra £2.7m to the Leeds economy.

The carnival parade centres around residential streets in Chapeltown and Harehills, culminating at Potternewton Park.

Founder and chairperson Arthur France said: “For almost 50 years, Leeds Carnival has shared our recipe for a great day out with the perfect blend of stunning costumes, mesmerising music, delicious food and a great atmosphere.

Kristina Gordon at last year's celebrations.

Kristina Gordon at last year's celebrations.

“Our planning for 2015 started the day after last year’s event to make sure that we continue to thrill audiences and to contribute to the vibrant visitor offer in Leeds and Yorkshire.

“The generation of Caribbeans like myself who brought new culture and experiences to the UK in the 50s and 60s is sadly, a dwindling population.

“We must do what we can to protect and preserve a legacy of Caribbean Carnival arts in Leeds by encouraging young people to get involved in all aspects of Carnival.”

And organisers are hoping to get a new generation of youngsters involved behind the scenes at the carnival after securing Arts Council England funding.

Carnival creators, whose headquarters are at Sheepscar Street, are already working on huge celebration plans for the 50th carnival which will be held in 2017.

Mr France added: “Carnival 2015 is a rehearsal for our 50th anniversary celebrations in 2017 and we look forward to sharing some extraordinary plans in the very near future.”

More details about carnival at: www.leedscarnival.co.uk

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