Carnival proves a real crowd pleaser
HUNDREDS of people turned out to join in the festivities at a Suffolk carnival and proved the community event is still popular.Only a few years ago it was feared the Newmarket Carnival, which has been dogged by poor crowd figures and a lack of enthusiasm could be scrapped.
HUNDREDS of people turned out to join in the festivities at a Suffolk carnival and proved the community event is still popular.
Only a few years ago it was feared the Newmarket Carnival, which has been dogged by poor crowd figures and a lack of enthusiasm could be scrapped.
However, last year the town linked the event to the Newmarket celebrations to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee and brought together its historic racing links for an extravaganza few people who attended will forget.
A similar format was used for the weekend's carnival and organisers said it proved to be the right strategy with throngs of people attracted to the grand float parade through the town and crowds attending entertainment at the Rowley Mile racecourse.
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Town Keeper Tim Robinson said jazz, brass band music, majorettes and banjo playing were some of the attractions which kept crowds lining the procession route. Decorated floats, children with masks and vintage cars were also involved in the parade.
Mr Robinson said: "It's a very good thing for the town – the whole community seems to be involved now and the High Street was packed for the procession. There was a great atmosphere throughout the day and it really seemed to bring people together."
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Food was the carnival theme and organisers were delighted with the efforts put into decorating the floats from around the town.
Fun and entertainment was laid on at the Rowley Mile and carnivalgoers had the chance to stay on for an evening of racing staged as part of the festivities.
Mr Robinson said one of the highlights of the event was an It's a Knockout-style contest, which attracted nine teams from Newmarket and the surrounding towns and villages.
Another event was the pantomime horseracing, which was organised by Newmarket Round Table. There was also a baby show with classes for three age groups from newborn to 18-months with special silver salvers for the winners of each class.
Newmarket Rugby Club took along its scrummage machine and tackle bags for youngsters to try out and there was also a display by members of the town's gym club.
A licensed bar and the racecourse's catering outlets were open throughout the afternoon and the evening seven-race card was also a big hit, with free entry to the course's family enclosure.
A free round-robin shuttle bus operated between the High Street and racecourse throughout the day making it easy for people to get to the site of the main event.