Carnival day in Cromer

Mary HamiltonToday is Carnival Day in Cromer, when the festivities come to a climax with a varied programme of events including the Red Arrows. The carnival parade this evening will mark the event's 40th anniversary.Mary Hamilton

Giant wrestlers, giant dogs and men falling from the sky - there were plenty of marvels at Cromer Carnival yesterday as it geared up to today's climax.

The sunny weather brought thousands of visitors to the children's day to enjoy the shows and the rides under clear blue skies.

The 12ft tall inflatable Cumberland Giants battled for supremacy in comedy wrestling matches, and gentler giants, Newfoundland dogs, showed off their marching skills.

Young and old were entranced by the Tigers freefall parachuting display, when five men jumped out of a plane 2,000ft above the carnival field and landed with perfect precision in the centre of the arena.

Creepy insects from Mini Monsters and corn snakes, barn owls and lizards from the Bird and Seal Rescue Sanctuary intrigued youngsters, and workshops in the marquee encouraged children to let loose their creative side.

Today's parade will mark the carnival's 40th anniversary, and about 20 carnival queens from previous years will be attending at lunchtime. The carnival's first queen, Angela Burton will cut a birthday cake to celebrate.

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Carnival chairman Tony Shipp said it could be a bumper year for the carnival, adding: 'Everything so far this year has been very well attended. For example, we put 900 tickets for the fancy dress dance on sale on Saturday, and we sold 600 in an hour-and-a-half.'

Mr Shipp said about 1,500 children came to the carnival arena for yesterday's fun day, with an estimated 3,500 visitors to the field altogether.

Tonight's parade is expected to attract 20-30,000 people.

He said: 'It's a good year compared to last year partly because we had a very bad summer last year, and partly because people are genuinely taking their holidays in this country.

'Because the weather is so good at the moment we are getting day trippers as well as the people who stay for the week. We just have to hope it holds off till after tomorrow when we hold the fireworks display.'

The anniversary year has seen revivals of many old events dating from the earliest years of the carnival, including the raft race, dwile flonking, piano smashing and the knobbly knees competition.

The carnival's longest running event was the waiters and waitresses race, which took place on Monday and involved professional waiters racing holding trays of drinks.

The race has taken place annually for over 40 years, with a couple of short breaks, and is older than the carnival itself.

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Today is Carnival Day, when the festivities come to a climax with a varied programme of events.

Gates at Runton Road open at 9.30am and the day kicks off with dog displays, motorcycles, gymnastics and parachuting.

About 20 carnival queens from previous years will be presented at about 11.15am, and this year's royal party will arrive at 12.15pm.

t The Red Arrows will be displaying over Cromer from 11.30am, and there will be a Spitfire display in memory of the Battle of Britain at 4.15pm.

The Carnival Parade begins assembling at Runton Road car park at 5pm. Floats and fancy dress will be judged between 6.15pm and 6.45pm, as well as en route, and the parade will set off through Cromer at 7pm.

Admission to the carnival field is �5 for adults, �3 for senior citizens and �2 for children. Family tickets cost �12 for two adults and two children.

There will be no parking at the carnival site today even for those holding a car pass. There is a park-and-ride car park on the A148 Holt Road at Westgate, and coaches costing �2 return run all day from the car park to Cromer.

Cars parked at the Runton Road car park will not be able to leave after 6.30pm until the parade has finished at about 10pm.