Get ready to party as countdown to Leeds West Indian Carnival begins

PIC: Simon Hulme

PIC: Simon Hulme

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It’s Europe’s longest running authentic Caribbean carnival.

And today the countdown offically begins as organisers of the Leeds West Indian Carnival mark 100 days until thousands of people take to the city’s streets to get the party started.

PIC: Simon Hulme

PIC: Simon Hulme

A sparkling procession of floats and hundreds of stunning costumes are set to descend on Potternewton Park on August 29 for the annual celebration.

And organisers say this year’s event will be a “dress rehearsal” ahead of next year’s 50th birthday extravaganza.

Carnival founder and chairman Arthur France said: “As well as bringing the streets of Leeds to life with the colour, spectacle and unbeatable atmosphere that have attracted millions of visitors and millions to the economy over 49 years, Leeds Carnival 2016 gives culture in the city yet another chance to shine.”

And organisers of the event are working behind the scenes to ensure that 2017’s landmark 50th anniversary celebrations are the biggest and best to date.

Arthur France pictured last year's carnival. PIC: Simon Hulme

Arthur France pictured last year's carnival. PIC: Simon Hulme

Mr France said: “We are already receiving national and international queries from carnival fans planning to be in the city for our 50th anniversary next year.

“As well as being a huge milestone, 2017 will be a fantastic opportunity for Leeds to show the world how proud we are of this phenomenal event that unites people from all walks of life.

“To make sure that we get it right, this year’s carnival has to be the biggest dress rehearsal Leeds has ever seen.”

Plans for the 50th anniversary celebrations will be announced later in the year.

PIC: Simon Hulme

PIC: Simon Hulme

They include Carnival Ballet – a 2017 world class dance production inspired by the carnival’s story, heritage and spectacle in partnership with Leeds-based contemporary dance company, Phoenix Dance Theatre.

Official events leading up to the carnival include the Prince and Princess and Carnival King and Queen Costume shows and the Soca Monarch calypso contest.

CELEBRATING POPULAR CARNIVAL

Leeds West Indian Carnival is Europe’s longest running authentic Caribbean carnival parade.

The first carnival was held on the streets of Leeds in 1967.

It is held annually on the last Monday in August, every year offering a stunning display of colour and joy that winds its way through the streets of Leeds.

What started in the 1960’s as one man’s remedy for West Indian homesickness is now the perfect blend of jaw-dropping costumes and infectious tropical rhythms.

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