It’s a spectacular procession of colour which has brightened up Preston for the more than 40 years.
But there was disappointment all round when this year the parade element of the Caribbean Carnival was cancelled.
A lack of funds resulted in organisers unable to stage the colourful cavalcade, which sees thousands line the streets between Moor Park and the city centre.
However, not to be deterred, the eight-strong committee, who have been helping to organise the dazzling event for many years, are determined 2017 will be bigger and better.
The team have been busy drawing up ideas and fund-raising plans for the 2017 event to help get the parade moving once more.
Next year’s event, a popular fixture on the city’s summer calendar, is proposed for Sunday, May 28, but members are already on a drive to recruit performers, costume designers and an army of volunteers to get involved with the exciting programme.
The committee has applied to the Arts Council England to help towards the funding of the festival. If successful, the grant will go towards paying for Caribbean artists to design and make large costume pieces and to repair and recycle old costumes the committee can then hire out to other carnivals.
The grants, which are provided to support a wide variety of arts-related activities, will also help pay for performers like steelbands and singers, advertising and marketing of the event and some of the stage and display costs.
But committee treasurer Carol Nevins says more still needs to be done to ensure the financial support is there for the event to go ahead.
She says: “Our biggest and most challenging role as a committee is to raise in the region of £40,000 to cover infra-structure costs which are not covered by the Arts Council.
“These are costs for safety barriers along the route, traffic management, security professionals, an event manager, marquee and stage costs, toilets, etc.
“This is a very difficult task and we organise many activities to raise funds. So far we are planning a fashion show, a skydive, a dance record and various raffles and discos through Jalgos Sports and Social club, who have always supported us with a venue for such and a meeting space.”
In October, a public meeting was organised to raise more awareness of the carnival and the on-going struggles to keep it going.
A few more people have been inspired to ‘do their bit’ but Carol added sponsorship from many of Preston’s businesses would go a long way to securing the future of the much-loved family event.
The committee meet on a Wednesday evening from 6.30pm at Jalgos.
Chairman Tracey Harris adds: “The carnival is one of the oldest in the UK. We are so, so proud of it and our aim is just to keep it going to 50 years and beyond.
“I was born and bred in Preston and both my brother and I used to take part.
“The carnival is for anyone, regardless of age, colour or creed – everyone is welcome to enjoy it. The youngsters are so passionate about it but it is about keeping it alive.”
Tracey says they are looking for anyone who can assist with fund-raising activities from supermarket bag packs to hosting charity Caribbean evenings and cocktail making.
“We are open to anything – any help with funds would be appreciated.”
Next year’s carnival will be staged from Moor Park and the city centre – with a main stage in the park.
As well as performances there will be a food marque and a fairground.
n Visit www.facebook.com/prestoncarnival/