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Leeds West Indian Carnival 2016 - Ready to Celebrate

Preparations are in full swing for the annual Leeds West Indian Carnival, Europe’s longest running authentic Caribbean carnival parade.

Thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the city on Bank Holiday Monday 29th August for the parade of hundreds of dazzling costumes from across the UK.

Around 100,000 visitors will take in the sights and sounds of the rainbow hued procession of costumed troupes dancing to infectious Caribbean soca and steel pan music. Inspired by themes from nature’s wonders to Caribbean folklore, news headlines to ancient history, the parade of colourful revellers will be topped off by jaw-dropping King and Queen costumes – as big as 5m tall – and their junior Prince and Princess counterparts.

Chairman Arthur France MBE, who founded the Carnival in 1967 as a remedy for Caribbean homesickness, said, “The amazing costumes, infectious rhythms, irresistible food and above all a party atmosphere that welcomes everyone, keeps our visitors from across the UK, Europe, Canada, United States and the Caribbean coming back to Leeds Carnival every year.”

The Carnival, which was the first in Europe to feature all three essential elements of Caribbean carnival – costumes, music and a parade - will celebrate its milestone 50th year in 2017.

It's time to get happy at Leeds West Indian Carnival IMAGE CREDIT Terry Jeavons
(IMAGE: It's time to get happy at Leeds West Indian Carnival - Credit Terry Jeavons)
Costume drama at Leeds West Indian Carnival IMAGE CREDIT - Maria Spadafora
(IMAGE: Costume drama at Leeds West Indian Carnival Credit - Maria Spadafora)

Organisers are already working with partners to plan for the landmark anniversary celebrations which include Carnival Ballet – a collaboration with Leeds based Phoenix Dance Theatre capturing the Carnival’s story, spectacle and heritage in a unique, world class dance production which will tour the UK from October 2017.

Mr. France said, “After months of hard work we are looking forward to Leeds Carnival 2016 being the city’s dress rehearsal for next year’s 50th anniversary celebrations.”

Warm up events leading up to the Carnival include the Prince and Princess and Calypso Monarch contests. The annual Carnival King and Queen Costume show is tipped to be a hot ticket with a full house expected to the entertainment and costume extravaganza to choose who will lead the Carnival parade on Bank Holiday Monday.

More details of Leeds West Indian Carnival 2016 events are available at on 0113 3070001 and Twitter @CarnivalLeeds

One of the stunning costumes at Leeds West Indian Carnival Credit - Terry Jeavons