Go flipping mad at Great Yarmouth Mardi Gras

Families are expected to flock to the Mardi Gras tomorrow afternoon as Great Yarmouth's King Street goes flipping crazy for a second year.

While the temperature is sure not to match the high of more celebrated Mardi Gras events in Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans, action will certainly be hotting up in the street and a specially erected marquee from 4pm to 6pm.

Laurie Miller-Zutshi, creative producer for the organisers, SeaChange Arts, said: 'What we have tried to do is borrow from quite different Mardi Gras traditions around the world to produce an event that reflects King Street as a cultural melting pot.'

Local schoolchildren have been working with Sheringham artist Kate Munro to make Rio carnival-style masks and headdresses while Lithuanian culture will be represented by a colourful fight between two giant characters, Fatso and Hempen, which symbolise the struggle between winter and spring.

Four members of the celebrated French street arts company Generik Vapeur arrived in Yarmouth on Friday to work on the technical aspects of the show and orchestrate the fight, which could intriguingly see Fatso and Hempen take to a motorbike and landau.

Pierre Berthelot, the group's leader, said they had been performing as far afield as Chile, Peru and Burkina Faso in West Africa since their last visit to Yarmouth in September to star in the Out There festival.

The driving aim of the group - appearing thanks to SeaChange's membership of the European festivals partnership Zepa - was to 'create something on the street, free and for the whole family'.

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Yorkshire-based street arts company MarkMark Productions has been working with two teams recruited from Yarmouth businesses and the local community to stage Total Crepe, an event being billed as the ultimate pancake challenge.

Ms Miller-Zutshi said: 'It's a pancake race with a difference, blending the familiar frying pans and tossing of pancakes with a performance element.'

Shops along King Street are taking part in a window spotting competition with families invited to hunt down spring and winter-related items.

Attractions to warm the heart will be fire sculptures created by Chris Day from Halesworth and the group Peppiatt from Essex, while there will also be live music.

'There will be a pancake stall but we also hope people will go into the King Street cafes, many of which are putting on special Mardi Gras menus,' said Ms Miller-Zutshi.

She said their aim was to really put Mardi Gras on the map in Yarmouth and make it even bigger and better in the future - next year's event would be part of the celebrations to mark the opening of the St George's Chapel arts centre, the historic building currently undergoing a multi-million pound revamp.