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Colourful Carnival parade brings thousands out to Dereham town centre

PUBLISHED: 13:03 16 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:13 16 July 2017

The Dereham Carnival parade arrives in the centre of town to cheers from crowds lining the streets. Picture: Antony Kelly

The Dereham Carnival parade arrives in the centre of town to cheers from crowds lining the streets. Picture: Antony Kelly

Antony Kelly

Thousands of people came out to line the streets of Dereham to enjoy a colourful Carnival.

It was the second to be organised by the current team of volunteers and got off to a flying start with a total of 39 floats passing through the town utilising a number of different modes of transport.

There were highly decorated articulated lorries, tractors, trucks, cars and bicycles featuring all members of the community, from the very young to the very old.

The Carnival King, Queen and attendants - Olivia Hunt, Zachery Kneller, Isobel Hammond and Eva Cutler - arrived in a horse drawn carriage.

Elderly from a local care home were pushed along in wheelchairs to cheers from the crowds who lined the route.

A horse drawn carriage for the Carnival King, Queen and attendants.  Picture:Antony Kelly A horse drawn carriage for the Carnival King, Queen and attendants. Picture:Antony Kelly

There were dancers, baton twirlers, scouts and cadets on foot while members of the Norwich Star Wars club were in full storm trooper regalia along with Darth Vader and other characters.

They mingled with Ninja Turtles and characters from Finding Nemo to name but a few.

Some were raising awareness of important causes and others raising money for charity - the Railway Tavern’s pink-themed float was raising funds for breast cancer research.

It took some skilful driving from the larger vehicles to squeeze down the narrow High Street, the wrong way under the town sign, with just inches to spare either side from packed pavements of onlookers.

Dereham Carnival 2017. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Dereham Carnival 2017. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

The prize for the best float was awarded to the 1st Toftwood Brownies for their Alice In Wonderland theme.

The entertainment continued in the afternoon at the recreation ground with the McDonald’s music stage, a grand arena for demonstrations, 75 stalls and 15 food and drink stands.

An RAF climbing wall proved popular and there was a good queue for the inflatable assault course and the aqua zorbs.

The fancy dress competition was won by Macauley Burden dressed as moonwalker Neil Armstrong but the tug-of-war competition had to be cancelled due to the weather.

Dereham Carnival 2017. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Dereham Carnival 2017. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Committee vice chairman Pete Jessop said they were disappointed that many people went home early due to the rain but they had already started making bigger plans for next year’s event.

Great carnival, shame about the weather

Dereham Carnival 2017. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Dereham Carnival 2017. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

While last year’s Dereham Carnival, the first in the town for 20 years, was blessed with wall-to-wall sunshine it seemed as if the weather gods wanted to test the event organisers this year.

Starting off warm and sunny the first rain shower came just as the parade left Greenfields Road. It had eased off by the time mascot Biscuit reached the war memorial and the town centre.

But then another heavy downpour came for the last few floats and then it pretty much set in until mid afternoon. According to the weather maps it looked as if the only place under a raincloud was NR19.

Hundreds of people still went to the recreation ground for the afternoon’s activities but it was a case of raincoats and umbrellas for those wanting to enjoy the music on the stage or demonstrations and competitions in the arena.

Dereham Carnival 2017. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Dereham Carnival 2017. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Many were forced to leave early having got drenched through but when the rain finally stopped there was a steady stream of people returning to the recreation ground to enjoy the music.

Hot food vendors enjoyed a roaring trade but ice cream sales were struggling.

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