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Clock ticks as children countdown to Ilkley Carnival 2022!

Ilkley Carnival committee member Colin Watson signals the start of the carnival countdown clock with All Saints’ Primary School pupils (L-R) Wilfred Overend, Eddie Overend and Faith McNeice

Thousands of visitors are expected to flock to Ilkley on Bank Holiday Monday (2nd May) for the return of the town’s historic carnival.

Marking the first large scale community event in the town since before the pandemic, the Ilkley Carnival committee of volunteers is once more anticipating bumper crowds and hopes support for the event will help exceed the £10k funds raised for local organisations in 2019.

In keeping with decades of tradition, the 1,000-strong parade of school children and local groups will start at 11am on The Grove with participants reflecting the “Our Planet” theme as they march the mile-long route down Brook Street to the East Holmes showground where the Carnival and its local fundraising truly gets underway.

Backed by main sponsors High Speed Training, an online training provider based in Ilkley, the day features entertainment including the adrenaline-fuelled main act, 3SIXTY Bicycle Stunt Team, birds of prey display, live music, a fun dog show and a host of free family entertainment from a children’s craft tent to the ever-popular Punch and Judy show.

Steph Maude, mother of All Saints’ Primary School pupil Faith McNeice, has been working with her team on costumes for the school’s biodiversity themed parade entry and said the Ilkley Carnival parade is the highlight of the year for hundreds of local school children.

She added: “It’s incredible to see just how much goes into making Ilkley Carnival happen every year from the efforts of parents with parade costumes to the committee and local 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!”

Dan Jordan, co-founder and CEO of High Speed Training added: “We’re thrilled to be supporting the Ilkley Carnival as it returns this year and are proud to be engaged with such a wonderful event which is sure to raise much-needed funds for local organisations and support our fabulous local businesses. The Carnival is so important for our town, and we are so grateful that we can play a part in what will be a great day for all involved.”

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 weeks to create their best ever parade costumes.

“We know the crowds will turn out for the parade itself but we’re hoping visitors continue their support and join us on the carnival showground where 90% of funds are raised for the community. It’s the ticket sales and visitors on the field that make a difference to the carnival’s fundraising success and why we put so much effort into creating a day of activities, shows, events and entertainment to keep all the family happy – not just on carnival day, but in the months and years beyond.”

Friends of Ilkley Moor is Ilkley Carnival’s 2022 primary beneficiary and will receive 50% of the profits raised to help with vital work to restore the peatlands, support local wildlife, reduce and prevent flooding and help reduce wildfires on the moor. The remaining profits will be split between local charities, schools and organisations including Ilkley Stroke Club, LS29, Outside the Box and local sports clubs who help set up, take down and operate the carnival on the day.

Andrew added: “Covid has shown us the importance of community spirit across country. In Ilkley, it’s that community and volunteering spirit which has helped our town be named as the best place in the UK to live and work. Ilkley has celebrated the May Day Bank Holiday since the late 1800s and today the carnival is the family event which kickstarts a summer of footfall attracting experiences which benefit every corner of the community, our local economy and our continued reputation as a wonderful place to live and to visit.”

The running order for the day, including the Discover Ilkley main area and Ilkley Rocks & Acoustic can be found, with much more information on the Ilkley Carnival website: ilkleycarnival.org

Ilkley Carnival tickets for adults cost £6, children (3-16) and senior citizens £2 and can be bought on the gates on the day.

Reduced price advanced tickets (adults £5) can be bought from Ilkley Tesco on Springs Lane. Reduced price tickets are also on sale outside Bettys on The Grove on Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May with the Rotary duck race sales at Real Food Ilkley.

If anyone can lend a hand to support on 1st and 2nd May to set up the carnival showground or help on the day, please contact Ilkley Carnival Chair Andrew Stacey on 07951 890836.

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