Picture Gallery: Better late than never as Watton Carnival returns

Scenes from Watton Carnival Parade 2013. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Scenes from Watton Carnival Parade 2013. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Watton Carnival made a belated – but triumphant – return in the late summer sunshine after overcoming its postponement from three months ago.

The 90-year-old tradition was cancelled in June after it clashed with another event organised in the same month, prompting fears that it might not go ahead at all this year.

But the rescheduled carnival brought hundreds of townspeople onto the High Street yesterday for the time-honoured celebration of live music, entertainment and community spirit.

The day began with a family worship event at 11am in Watton Pentecostal Church, before the town centre came alive with fairground games, children's rides and fund-raising charity stalls, with live music throughout the afternoon on a stage in Chaston Place.

The climax of the day was a carnival procession featuring costumed sci-fi characters and exotic dancers, along with representatives from local groups including the Watton Church Scout Group, 2nd Watton Rainbows, Wayland Players and Treetots playgroup.

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The Carnival Princess, 12-year-old Wayland Academy pupil Jade Agent, and her attendants, dressed by the Watton Twinning Association, waved to onlookers from an open-top convertible white London taxi.

And the procession was led by the Air Training Corps (ATC) band, followed in a gleaming white Beauford car by town mayor Lorraine McCarthy – herself a former carnival Queen from 1961.

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She said although the event had been forced towards the autumn on the calendar, it had retained its summery atmosphere.

'We always have lovely weather,' she said. 'I have been here since 1945 and I've never seen a wet carnival. It has been a great day, and I want to say thanks to everyone for coming because there is an awful lot of people who have turned out.'

The annual spectacular was originally due to take place on June 9.

The Watton Town Team, set up to look at ways of regenerating the high street, had organised a classic car rally for June 23, and Norfolk County Council said both events could not happen in the same month because of permits for road closures and poor diversions.

Carnival secretary Cheryl Clayton said she was pleased the committee was able to find a new date for the carnival, which has been parading through the streets since 1924.

She said: 'It is a little bit late in the year, but it is nice that we have been able to fit the event into the calendar.

'It was quite last-minute, but we have done it. There are lots of people out and about, and we have got stalls and rides and attractions and some brilliant singers on the stage.

'I am just pleased that so many people have helped to make it a success. All the organisations in the town have played such a big part this year in getting it together.'

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