THE skies may have been grey, but a dull August Bank Holiday Monday was brightened up by a host of colour and head turning costumes at Leeds Carnival.
Organisers of the 47th West Indian carnival said it had gone smoothly, with the carnival parade successfully winding its way through the streets of inner city Chapeltown and Harehills.
An army of volunteers has been working for months making costumes, feathered head dresses and decorating floats.
Europe’s longest running authentic Caribbean carnival parade attracted an estimated 100,000 plus crowd, said organisers.
Exotic food stalls, entertainment and an aim for people to ‘be happy and join in the carnival atmosphere’ was order of the day.
Carnival founder Arthur France said: “Come rain or shine, Carnival is a spectacle that never ceases to amaze both spectators and participants.
“The thrill of the costumes, the beat of the music, the delicious food and above all the happy atmosphere are what have made the Carnival such a wonderful attraction for Leeds and Yorkshire for five decades – whatever the weather.”
With costumes inspired by themes from nature to historical figures, hundreds of revellers took part in troupes alongside the carnival Queen Davinia Harmer, Prince and Princess costumes as the rainbow-hued parade left Potternewton Park.
Mr France added: “This year we have tried to share the culture, history and what we love about Carnival with wider audiences. The stunning Pop Up Carnival wowed hundreds of thousands at the Grand Depart of the Tour de France and Scarborough and the upcoming King and Queen Show at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on Friday night were just the start of our bigger plans to celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2017.”
West Yorkshire Police said yesterday afternoon that the carnival parade had got off to a smooth start.
Leeds West Indian Carnival was founded in 1967 by Arthur France as a remedy for the homesickness for his native St Kitts and Nevis and is thought to be the first ever carnival held in Europe. He was awarded the MBE in 1997 for services to Carnival arts.
Bringing phenomenal costumes, rhythmic steel pan and soca music together with the arts, crafts and cuisine of the Caribbean it is Europe’s longest running authentically Caribbean carnival parade and the biggest outside London.
Leeds Carnival 2014 is funded by Leeds City Council and Arts Council England National Lottery Funding.
A huge celebration is planned for 2017, when Leeds Carnival will celebrate it’s 50th year.