Centrepiece parade set to be ‘biggest in a long time’ for town’s carnival

Ella-Rose Fraser gets her face painted by Tanya Catling of Phoenix Faces at Aldeburgh Carnival. Pict

Ella-Rose Fraser gets her face painted by Tanya Catling of Phoenix Faces at Aldeburgh Carnival. Picture: GARY DONNISON - Credit: Archant

A cavalcade of carnival queens will majestically meander along the streets of Aldeburgh today for the centrepiece of the town’s 75th anniversary event.

Runners finish Sunday's 10k run. Picture: GARY DONNISON

Runners finish Sunday's 10k run. Picture: GARY DONNISON - Credit: Archant

The fabulous forty queens have all – at one time since 1953 – led the famous procession, which gets underway at 3.15pm.

The annual carnival kicked off on Saturday with live music at various locations, including pop-up bandstands, while Sunday’s events included the 10k run, children’s entertainment and songs of praise.

Weather permitting, Monday starts with a demonstration by the RNLI and HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter.

A first for the carnival will be the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team descending 12,000ft to the beach and delivering a golden key to the mayor.

Aldeburgh Festival crowd. Picture: GARY DONNISON

Aldeburgh Festival crowd. Picture: GARY DONNISON - Credit: Archant

Keith Batt, publicity officer for the carnival committee, said: “We really pull out the stops to organise special new things for the carnival, while not abandoning the old traditions.

“The golden key being delivered by a parachute display team will certainly be a first for this part of the world. It’s taken three years of background organisation; dealing with the Ministry of Defence and Civil Aviation Authority.”

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The theme for this year’s procession is ‘Amazing Aldeburgh’ – with Shannon Strowger chosen as queen for the day, joined by three attendants, Eve Atkins, Jessica Waters and Evie Brinded.

Shannon’s mother was carnival queen in 1981, while her father was carnival king – or ‘Mr Neptune’ – in 2007.

Punch and Judy at Aldeburgh Carnival. Picture: GARY DONNISON

Punch and Judy at Aldeburgh Carnival. Picture: GARY DONNISON - Credit: Archant

She will not be alone in the arena, as this year’s event features a crowd of former queens.

Mr Batt said: “It will be the biggest parade in a long time.

“We have 40 former carnival queens going back to 1953. It would have been 42, but the former queens in Australia and America were, understandably, unable to make it along.

“I was particularly interested to meet the 1956 queen, whose horse was upset by a van and bolted. She had a rather precipitous ride until the horse was brought under control. Thankfully, she’s no worse for wear.”

For the first time in 25 years, the parade includes a steam engine – the Suffolk Punch Garrett tractor, from the Leiston Long Shop.

The event culminates in a lantern procession to a ‘bigger and better’ display of fireworks – include those unused last year due to the weather.

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