Chapeltown Carnival fun day

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A CARNIVAL style funday was held in Chapeltown signalling the start of preparations for the Leeds West Indian Carnival in August.

Organiser and Leeds carnival founder Arthur France told the YEP: “Why wait until August for carnival fun?”

He said the bank holiday Monday event, held at the Leeds Carnvial Arts and Cultural Centre, at Sheepscar Street, had been a great opportunity for family fun, with workshops, fine Caribbean food and face-painting.

Mr France added: “It takes a lot of preparation to get ready for the actual carnival in August and now work has started. We have a full four months to get ready. New costumes and head dresses are being made in brightly coloured materials.

“We held workshops in costume making in a bid to encourage younger people to get involved in their heritage.”

Costumes and equipment are already being designed and made by hand, from a team of dedicated volunteers, who will be busy for the next four months.

On the day itself, around 2,000 dancers will be in costume, with 20 steel floats in the procession.

Mr France founded the first carnival in Leeds, in 1968, and was one of the first of its kind in Europe. He is now considered an expert in carnival and its history in the UK.

Preparations for the 44th Leeds West Indian Carnvial to be held on August Bank Holiday Monday, are well underway. It is the biggest in the UK, after Notting Hill in London.

Mr France, committee chairman added: “We were the first street carnival in Europe and have carried on every single year where others have failed. Each year we bring together all members of the community in harmony through music and dance and carnival atmosphere.

“We are so proud to be part of the prestigious city of Leeds and all it has to offer.”

With home grown sights and sounds direct from the Caribbean, more than 130,000 people are expected to descend on Chapeltown on August 29, for the vibrant procession through inner city streets.

There will be performances and concerts in Potternewton Park, as well as fun events for all ages on the day.

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