Clock ticks on the countdown to Ilkley Carnival

Thousands of visitors are expected to flock to Ilkley on Bank Holiday Monday for the all singing, all dancing Ilkley Carnival.

Paired with the buzz of the fourth Tour De Yorkshire which ends on Sunday, the Ilkley Carnival committee is once more anticipating bumper crowds and hopes that community support for the event will help to exceed the £10k funds raised for local organisations last year.

Starting at 11am on The Grove with around 1,000 children dressed for the “Shows and Musicals” themed parade sponsored by Anytime Fitness, the streets of Ilkley will become a mile-long stage adorned with Wizard of Oz enthusiasts, Guys and Dolls galore and Lion King lovers.

The parade will head down Brook Street onto the East Holmes showground where the Carnival truly gets underway. Backed by main sponsors High Speed Training, the day includes an array of show-stopping entertainment, including a spectacular horse and rider main act, The Galloping Acrobatics, a birds of prey spectacular, vintage vehicle show, live music, a fun dog show and a host of free entertainment for all the family from a craft tent to the ever-popular Punch and Judy show.

Gwenda Van Damme, mother of Sacred Heart pupils Billy and Emily Spenceley, has been working on costumes for the school’s Joseph and The Technicolour Dreamcoat-themed parade entry since March and said Ilkley Carnival parade is the highlight of the year for hundreds of local school children.

Gwenda said: “It’s incredible to see just how much effort goes into making Ilkley Carnival happen every year from the parents with the parade and the committee and volunteers. It’s wonderful to see how inspired and excited the children are – this event really makes a difference to local lives and truly brings the whole community together. We’re so delighted to be a part of it – whatever the weather!”

Carnival chairman, Andrew Stacey, who has once again secured free Marshalls fairground  tickets for children from the LS29 special needs support group, said: “As always, the committee has worked exceptionally hard to make this year’s event happen and we know that parents have been working for months to create their best ever parade costumes.

“We know our crowds will be incredible for the parade itself and we’re hoping visitors continue with us onto the Carnival showground, opposite Ilkley Lido, as this is where 90% of our funds are raised for the local community. With volunteer groups such as the Friends of Martin House, Ilkley in Bloom, Ilkley Grammar School and many local sports clubs helping us to set up, take down and operate the carnival, ticket sales and visitors on the field are where we can make the most difference to our community. This is why we put so much effort into creating a day of activities, shows, events and entertainment to keep all of the family happy.”

Ilkley Town Football Club has been selected as the Carnival’s 2019 primary beneficiary and will receive 50% of the profits raised to help with two transformative projects to enhance club facilities. The remaining profits will be split between local charities, schools and organisations.

Ilkley Carnival tickets for adults cost £6, children and senior citizens £1 and can be bought on the gates on the day. Reduced price advanced tickets can be bought online www.ilkleycarnival.org/tickets/ or from Ilkley Tesco and Ilkley Visitor Information Centre.  Reduced price tickets are also on sale outside Bettys on The Grove on Saturday 4 May and from the Real Food Market on Sunday 5 May.

If anyone can lend a hand to support over the weekend of 4 and 5 May to set up the carnival showground or help on the day, please contact Ilkley Carnival Chairman Andrew Stacey on 07951 890836.

2019 Running order, at Ilkley Carnival.