Harrogate burst into colour last weekend as the town celebrated its first carnival in three years.

Thousands packed the town centre streets, with carnival organisers saying Harrogate hadn’t seen crowds this big since the Tour De France in 2016.

The colourful spectacle saw the Leeds West Indian Dance Troupe, a variety of theatre groups, Chinese dragon dancers, belly dancers and a brass band.

Sharon Canavar, Harrogate International Festivals Chief Executive, said: “We were absolutely delighted with how Saturday went, in particular the sheer numbers of people who lined the route of the procession.

“From Cambridge Crescent right through to the Valley Gardens’ entrance, the streets were packed with residents and visitors enjoying a great day out.

“Town had a true carnival buzz; the atmosphere was fantastic and the procession, led by the Mayor in her robes, was sensational. And once the procession ended, the fun and entertainment continued throughout the afternoon in the Valley Gardens.”

Sharon called the Saturday carnival ‘a wonderful finale’ to Harrogate International Festivals 2022 Summer Programme.

She thanked partners, in particular Harrogate Borough Council, Destination Harrogate, the performers and the public for making the event such a success. This was Harrogate’s first Summer Programme since 2019 following two years of Covid-19 restrictions.

Sharon continued: “The last five weeks may have been absolutely hectic, with the team working at full throttle, but it has been well worth it. Our industry was particularly hard hit by the pandemic, and being able to do what we do best, namely delivering world class events with world class performers, authors, and musicians, is hugely satisfying.”

After taking a breather, Sharon and her team will be looking ahead to Harrogate’s next major cultural event, the Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival.

The four-day literary -fest features a range of newly-published writers and runs from Thursday October 21 until Sunday, October 23 at the Crown Hotel. There will be well-known names and the full programme will be published next month.

Sharon also paid tribute to the business community that continues to support Harrogate International Festivals in its endeavours to deliver a cultural programme that is diverse and opens up the art to as wide an audience as possible.

She added: “As an arts charity, we rely on grants and the backing of individuals and businesses, and are incredibly grateful that the vast majority stayed with us, even during the pandemic when we moved online. Without them we wouldn’t be able to stage the breath of events for our community that help enrich the lives of so many.”

Further details are at : https://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/