Carnival all set to grow

St Annes Carnival procession 2016
St Annes Carnival procession 2016

St Annes Carnival is set to add even more entertainment to its busy weekend schedule.

Six years on from adding Sunday events to the traditional Saturday procession around town and fun day in Ashton Gardens, the Carnival committee is looking at adding Friday evening entertainment to the itinerary.

Officials hope to build further on the impressive support the Carnival has received in annually raising thousands of pounds for charity.

A free music event in Ashton Gardens looks on the cards for the Friday evening, with officials eager to make the most of the fact that the stage for the Saturday crowning of the Carnival Queen and associated entertainment is already set up by that time - and although details still being worked on, local performers look set to feature.

“The idea has been termed piano in the park and it would be a great way to start the weekend,” said Carnival chairman Angela Jacques.

“We decided to extend the Carnival weekend from one day to two six years ago and we have been delighted with the backing that received.

“It has allowed us to introduce additional features to the weekend, such as the best-dressed dog competition, which have been well supported and has helped us generate even more money for charity.”

Mark Daniels, events chairman for the St Annes Enterprise Partnership, came up with the idea for the Friday evening entertainment, and said that it is intended to be “a soft start to a really busy weekend”.

Mark, who was master of ceremonies for the St Annes Christmas lights switch-on ceremony, added: “The stage will already be there so we aim to make the most of that and have a few hours of entertainment which we hope will provide the ideal start to Carnival weekend.

“We will be working out the line-up nearer the time and may well have auditions but we hope it will be an opportunity for all sorts of performers to show what they can do on a local stage, that it proves popular and can become an annual feature of Carnival weekend.”

St Annes Carnival, which started in the 1920s as the town’s Hospital Fete Day, is the only carnival on the Fylde to specifically raise money for local charities, donating just short of £100,000 since 1978.

Last year, as the Ashton Gardens venue at the heart of the town centre celebrated its centenary, £6,000 was raised for the North West Air Ambulance thanks to a variety of events held through the year and recipient charity this time is Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Along with the Sunday events, which include a tug of war as well as the best=dress dog contest and musical performances, Carnival officials have also introduced other additional fund-raising features in recent years including an annual ball. This year’s Carnival is set for July 7, 8 and 9.