Countdown is on for Leeds carnival celebrations

Ahmya Wilson-Pyke at Leeds West Indian Carnival last year.
Ahmya Wilson-Pyke at Leeds West Indian Carnival last year.
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Preparations are underway as tens of thousands of carnival fans look set to party in the streets of Leeds.

With just under two weeks to go the organisers of the annual Leeds West Indian Carnival are preparing to make this year’s celebrations bigger and better than before.

Kristina Gordon

Kristina Gordon

Thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the city on Bank Holiday Monday, August 31, to take part in a parade of hundreds of dazzling costumes.

Carnival founder and chairman Arthur France said: “Behind the fantastic creations and happy atmosphere, a huge amount of time and effort has gone into bringing Leeds Carnival 2015 to life.

“Carnival is more than just glittering costumes on a great day out - it is the culmination of months of hard work and round the clock planning.

“Most of all it is a joyful celebration of Leeds and of Caribbean culture and heritage that we are proud to share with the world.”

The celebrations will start at Potternewton Park from 2pm.

A Leeds City Council study at last year’s carnival estimated that spectators pumped at least £2.7 million into the city’s economy.

Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “For decades, the carnival has captured the spirit of Leeds and showcased what amazing results can be achieved through sheer determination and communities coming together.

“We look forward to working with organisers to ensure that the carnival will be a huge part of a compelling bid for European Capital of Culture 2023 which mirrors all that is great about our city.”

The celebrations, which were founded by Arthur as a remedy for Caribbean homesickness, will mark its 50th year in 2017.

Organisers are already working on plans for the landmark anniversary celebrations which will include the recently announced Carnival Ballet – a collaboration with Leeds based Phoenix Dance Theatre.