Harrogate “welcomed the world” this weekend and not even the Great British summer could rain on Harrogate International Festivals’ Carnival parade!
More than 22,000 people took to the streets and the town’s Valley Gardens for the opening parade and subsequent party in the park, despite torrential rain.
Carnival was brought to life through a commission from Harrogate Borough Council and was a unique day for the town and wider District as part of a cultural programme to herald the arrival of September’s UCI Road World Cycling Championships, when “Harrogate Welcomes the World”.
Harrogate International Festivals’ chief executive Sharon Canavar said: “Carnival lived up to everything that it was billed to be – and more! Launching with Friday night’s incredible town centre ‘Saurus’ walkabout, which brought the people out of the bars and restaurants and the traffic to a standstill.
“Harrogate’s known for many fabulous things but being a hotbed of multiculturism isn’t one of them. For one day at least, we became a melting pot of different cultures bringing with it a dazzling array of colourful costumes, fantastic food, marvellous music and more dancing than you could shake a stick at.
“Saturday’s opening parade through the town centre was a fantastic collection of different cultures, sounds and sights, and certainly got everyone dancing in the streets. And the party continued in the park where fun and festivities continued through the afternoon in the Valley Gardens.”
She added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Harrogate Borough Council who commissioned Carnival and to all the performers, artists, chefs and members of the public who made it a day to remember despite a month’s rainfall falling throughout the day!
“Carnival has kicked off the countdown to September’s UCI Road World Championships in style. In less than two months Harrogate will ‘Welcome The World’ with the arrival of tens-of-thousands of competitors and spectators, to what is the cycling equivalent of football’s world cup.
“And in return for ‘welcoming the world’ at the weekend, we introduced it to the unpredictability of the British summer. However, nothing was going to rain on our parade – not even the weather – and it didn’t!”
The funding to deliver this event came from the Leeds City Region Business Rates Pool, and has been allotted specifically to support cultural activities whilst the global spotlight is on the region.