Leeds West Indian Carnival marks its 50th year

By Tamika Mc Crory

“The oldest carnival in Europe” is to celebrate its 50th anniversary here in Leeds.

Leeds West Indian Carnival is Europe’s longest running authentic Caribbean carnival parade.

It started in 1967 as an antidote to the yearning for the Caribbean culture and heritage of a group of West Indian students in Leeds. 2017 marks the milestone 50th anniversary of Leeds West Indian Carnival.

The carnival’s website says: “We are delighted to share some of our plans to celebrate Leeds Carnival 50! It’s been half a century in the making so we could not be more proud.”

The carnival will take place in Potternewton over the August bank holiday weekend.

There will also be a full week of new plays that commemorate the carnival at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

A recreation of the Sun Goddess, the very first Leeds Carnival Queen costume, will also be included in an exhibition from August to October.

Organisers said that an estimate 160,000 people attended last year’s carnival, so there are hopes for an even bigger crowd this year.

Arthur France, head of the organising committee, said: “When you come to carnival it is electric, so many things going on.”

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “The oldest carnival in Europe is here in Leeds. We are so keen to make sure as a city we come together and everyone celebrates an incredible achievement.”

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