On Saturday 6 June the whole of Harpenden and the sun came out to celebrate the 50th Harpenden Carnival.
Over 7,000 basked in the sunshine and were treated to everything from an old fashioned travelling show to the thrills and spills of the fun fair – there was even a real dinosaur!
For the first time the Harpenden Carnival was jointly organised both by Harpenden Round Table and Harpenden Town Council. Paul Pepperell, Harpenden Round Table Chair said: “Working with the Council was a brilliant experience. Everyone at HTC worked so hard to make this a really special day.”
Round Table changed the emphasis of Carnival three years ago from purely money raising to trying to deliver a real community day. Paul Pepperell added: “Working with the council allowed us to incorporate discovery day as well as syncing with Art on the Common and the History Societies events, all of which combined to bring Harpenden together for a really special day.”
This was the first time in its 50 year history that Harpenden Carnival has been free but that didn’t stop the generous people of Harpenden donating to support the Carnival charities. “We were amazed by how generous the people of Harpenden were,” said Carnival chair Joe Avison. “We hope that after costs we will be able to donate over £10,000 to charities and local groups.”
One of the biggest highlights was the return of the procession. Led by Mayor Brian Ellis the town was treated to floats, a marching steel drum band and New Orleans style feather dressed dancers. It was, to say the least, spectacular.
Councillor Brian Ellis, Town Mayor stated: “The Carnival went extremely well and I have never seen so many people on the High Street for the parade. It was nice to see so many families enjoying themselves on the Common in the warm, sunny weather.”
With all the attractions, music stage and stalls it is easy to overlook one of the biggest changes – the number of free activities. Joe Avison continued: “We really wanted to create a family friendly day where you could enjoy as much as possible without dipping into your wallet too much. We had face painting, circus skills classes, tree climbing, a barrel train, sandy art, punch and all of the main and side shows free for all. All of us at Round Table were hugely proud to help produce such a family focused community day.
An event this big, however, wouldn’t be possible without the help of huge numbers of people involved in the organisation and on the day.
Joe Avison added: “Harpenden Round Table and Harpenden Town Council could not have put on the Carnival without the support of lots of other local groups. I would like to say a huge thank you to Circle, 41 club, Jude and Maggie and the others in Tangent as well as local scout groups, schools, Rothamsted and all of the people of Harpenden for helping to make the 50th Carnival one of the most memorable days in Harpenden history.”