All over the city people are meeting in secret in front rooms, community centres, pubs and clubs today to speak in hushed voices about their plans for Bank Holiday Monday’s carnival.
They are the creative minds behind one of the UK’s most spectacular and colourful events and last night they finally got to unveil the results of months of painstaking work.
Leeds Town Hall hosted the Leeds Carnival Kings and Queens Show, the first time many of the costumes for Monday’s big parade were worn in public.
Thousands of hours of stitching and sewing have gone into extravagant creations and the best have been selected as the Carnival King and Carnival Queen to lead the main parade around Chapeltown, which begins from Potternewton Park at 2pm on the bank holiday.
Once again, thousands from all over the world will line the streets for the event, which marks its 46th year – growing from a concept dreamed up to combat Caribbean homesickness to an extravaganza rivalling London’s Notting Hill.
Leeds civil servant Lorina Gumbs, 39, and Renata Gordon are the creative minds behind one of the troupes taking part. They revealed AnonyMas will be dressed in blues and greens to reflect the theme of The Deep.
Elements of the costumes have been sourced from as far away at Trinidad – and others from online trading site eBay.
“The process began when we decided what we were going to make about a year ago,” said Lorina. “After that, design teams will draw sketches of their concepts and even make prototypes – it’s an on-going process with the production of the costumes starting a few months ago. It does take a lot of time and effort but the results usually make all the sleepless nights and headaches worthwhile.
“If you’re chosen as King or Queen, then that’s fantastic but carnival isn’t really about competition. It’s about creating a positive experience for everyone and if that’s the result, then we have achieved what we set out to do.”
CARNIVAL ROYAL FAMILY
The carnival Prince and Princess have already been chosen at a ceremony at the Leeds West Indian Centre.
This year it will be 12-year-old Shaliece Moore from Leeds, dressed as the Soca Salsa Princess in a costume designed by Pareesha Webster for Artistic Achievers Carnival Project - funded by the Leeds Inner North East Area Committee - who will play the Princess.
This year’s Prince is Reece Booth from Leeds, dressed as The Flying Horse in a costume designed by Sinclair Brown from Huddersfield.
The carnival programme includes the Calypso Monarch Revival at the Leeds West Indian Centre tomorrow evening. (August 25)
Full details of the programme are available online at: http://www.leedscarnival.co.uk