Carnival spirit on the streets this weekend
- Credit: Archant
The sun is shining, summer is here - it's time to party. Norwich will this weekend echo to the sights and sounds of carnival with the Lord Mayor's Celebrations. SIMON PARKIN has a look at what's in store.
Take 60 floats full of outlandishly costumed party-goers, some wacky street entertainment and thousands of revellers. Mix them together and what have you got? — the recipe for another fun-filled weekend of Lord Mayor Celebrations.
While the Royal Norfolk Show is over for another year, Norwich is gearing up its three-days feast of entertainment, featuring performers from all over the world.
Many of the events are free, so it's a great opportunity to get out and about and enjoy our fine city at its best.
This year's the celebrations don't have a particular theme — the only message is have as much fun as possible.
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Carnival weekend has in recent years seen the revival of a much loved and much missed tradition, the Gas Hill Gasp that sees dozens of cyclists on all manner of bikes attempting to make it to the top of Norwich's steepest street. It has proved a huge success and is back again on Friday.
This year's exciting new event is Norwich being chosen as the first city in the UK to host Cancer Research UK's SlideRider, which will see thrillseekers plummet down a 100 metre inflatable three-lane water slide on Theatre Street.
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Of course, the centrepiece of the weekend will be the carnival procession on Saturday evening, when dozens of colourful floats, along with gymnasts, dancers, drummers and costumes, that will snake through the city centre.
The parade this year again sets off at 5pm and finishes at 7.30pm.
Sixty one entries last year saw people of all ages on foot and on giant floats winding through the city's streets, watched by tens of thousands cheering people.
With no overall it will be a free-for-all so expect plenty of weird and wacky creations, costumes and themes, guaranteed to being a smile to the crowds, as well as raising money for numerous good causes.
Helen Selleck Helen Selleck, culture and events manager at Norwich City Council, said: 'The procession draws thousands of people into the city. It is a lively, colourful, exciting and entertaining day out for the whole family, enjoyed by all ages. Dragons seem to be a popular theme due to GoGo Dragons.'
Away from the procession there will be street theatre, entertainment and music across the city and lots of fa,ily fun in Chapelfield Gardens and a packed programme of local talent on the stage outside The Forum.
The Saturday evening once again concludes in spectacular style with a noisy and colourful explosion of fireworks over Norwich Castle.
Helen Selleck added: 'The final preparations are in place and we are looking good. We have a lot of old favourites such as the Norwich Duck Race and Gas Hill Gasp to new attractions like the Sliderider which, hopefully, can become a regular at the Lord Mayor's celebration weekends.
'One of the difficult parts for Norwich City Council is the scheduling of the weekend with up to 900 different action points the council has to sort a time out for... it is a tight fit to get everything in.
'There is so much to consider and if you look at the massive amount of floats we will have during the Parade, which could reach up to 70, it will be one of the biggest Lord Mayor Celebrations we have had.'
Gas Hill Gasp
Gas Hill, Thorpe Hamlet (7.15pm-9.15pm) Back by popular demand! The infamous Gas Hill Gasp returned in 2011 nearly 10 years after the cycling event was last run and was a huge success and it returns this year. It has been around since the 1940s as classic hill climb time trial. Dozens of uphill cyclists with calves of steel will take on one of the city's steepest hills. Heats of four will race to the top of Gas Hill. For entry details: www.gashillgasp.co.uk
Open Air Screen
The Forum (July 3-5)
The open air screen returns to The Forum as part of the Lord Mayor's weekend featuring sport, music and film — all free. Friday include live action from Wimbledon (12pm-4pm) followed by family film Paddington (4.30pm), with food from Feast on the Street, then Mozart's Don Giovanni is being broadcast live from the Royal Opera House (7pm). Saturday features live coverage of the Tour de France (9am-12pm). Then on Sunday, as well as sports and history films, they are showing two big movies How to Train Your Dragon (2pm) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (7.30pm).
Castle Gardens (7.30pm-9pm) An evening of acoustic music from our talented young musicians. Bring a picnic, sit back and relax – just get there early to grab your seat!
Feast on the Street
Theatre Street (10.30am-11pm)
You can't have fun on an empty stomach so make sure you visit our foody collective to refuel. There will be something to tempt all taste buds, from world cuisine to waffles on a stick! Spicy, sweet and downright delicious
Chapelfield Gardens (Sat 11am-10pm)
Thrills, spills and the opportunity to hook-a-duck and have your fortune told as the traditional funfair rolls back into Chapelfield Gardens. Featuring an 1890 traditional carousel and a mix of classic funfair rides and traditional fairground stalls, plus the chance to stuff yourself silly on candyfloss.
Disco Shed DJs/Flintstone's Bar
Chapelfield Gardens (11am-10pm)
Nominated Normal Shed of the Year 2014, the Shedonists will be back with party-smacking tunes into the night. Chill out in the outdoor bar area and catch some funky beats while you're there. Also on Sunday. Yabba dabba do!
Theatre Street (11am-10pm)
Norwich has been chosen as the first city in the UK to host Cancer Research UK's new SlideRider event, which will see thrillseekers plummet down a 100m inflatable three-lane water slide. The slide will start on the top of the hill on Theatre Street by St Stephen's Church down to Rampant Horse Street by Debenhams. All riders will pay £10 for two trips down the slide and must use an inflatable ring, provided by the organisers of the event. Money raised will go towards supporting Cancer Research UK's Kids and Teens Fundraising Campaign.
St Stephens Underpass (12pm-5pm)
Life in a Fine City and Moosey Art transform the underpass into a gallery of street art by 48 artists. The final pieces will be painted live in Chantry car park.
The Forum Stage
Millennium Plain (12pm-4.30pm/6.30pm-10.15pm)
An all-day eclectic mash up of up-beat performances outside The Forum. Expect infectious, energetic, upbeat movement and rhythms from near and afar. Performances include mind blowing beatboxing from talented trio Bloxed Beats, spectacular costumes and dazzling dance moves with Brazillia, extracts from Chermond Gym's breath-taking circus show, Barnum. Dance styles including street, contemporary, tap and ballet with Parallel Dance and Slanteddance, plus young performers from The Garage. Music from Norwich Rock Choir, laidback Caribbean melodies with the Pantasy Steel Band, classical favourites, fused with great pop songs with Classical Crossover. Then variety, energy and colour with musical theatre, dance and a spectacular grand finale with Young Norfolk Arts Festival.
London Street (12pm-5pm)
Influences from across the globe unite in music, dance, poetry and spoken word, programmed by Anna Mudeka.
Chantry Car Park (12pm-10.15pm)
Taking over the Chantry stage for retro revelry will be Norwich's hugely popular cabaret kings Bo Nanafana Social Club – worshippers of damn fine music, dancing, dressing up and divine decoration. Their show will feature Shooting Stars, returning to the city after many years ripping it up on the Nashville bar and club scene. Street Theatre
Norwich City Centre (1pm-4pm/6pm-10pm)
This year the celebrations again feature a fantastic line-up of street performers to amaze, delight and entertain. Some strange and fun acts and characters will be popping up. Performers will include satire, surrealism and surprising acrobatics with Lords of Strut, virtuoso jugglers Gandini, the smallest theatre in the world trying to show a spectacular stage version of King Kong and Capt Bigshot and Capt Calypso on a wild journey in their famous travelling machines. Lulu will be creating an amazing 3D world from her drawings, Upswing's visual storytelling blends circus techniques with dance, two space rangers will use their mind probes to read human thoughts, comedy chefs Hugh Fearn and Lee Whittingstall will present a cookery demos and UEA Drama's Magic Moments nonsense and mariachi bands.
Chapelfield Gardens (3pm-10pm)
Showcasing emerging talent from Norfolk courtesy of BBC Introducing, who will be broadcasting on Radio Norfolk at 8pm. The Lord Mayor's 5km
Norwich City Centre (4.50pm)
From Norwich Cathedral to St Stephens Street, this 5km road race, first staged in 1996, attracts the best quality field for an event of its kind in the region. Watch the red-faced but determined runners take on the city centre circuit around Agricultural Hall Plain from about 4.50pm. More details visit: www.conac.org.uk
Lord Mayor's Procession
Newmarket Road to St Martins Palace Plain (5pm)
Norwich's parade is a fusion between Caribbean carnival and English procession. More than 60 floats will be taking part this year — with no set theme, so expect plenty of daft fun costumes. There will be the usual mix of the fantastically outlandish, gymnasts, dancers, big sounds, all winding their way through the city centre to the rhythm of the drums. Why not get into the fiesta fever by dressing up yourself? Bang the drum, blow that vuvuzela and get dancing!
Britain's Best Small Venue
Norwich City Centre (6pm-10pm)
Norwich Arts Centre takes to the streets with an eclectic mix of new music from across the city.
Norwich City Concert Band
Gaol Hill (7pm)
Woodwind, brass and percussion players add to the festive vibe in the city centre.
Norwich Castle (10.30pm)
Ooohhhh, ahhhh! The weather forecast is good, so this year we will hopefully be blessed with clear skies as the night is lit up. Spectacular, breathtaking, and set against the unmistakable backdrop of Norwich Castle, the firework display will light up the sky and be visible for miles.
Great Norwich Duck Race
Lady Julian Bridge to Millennium Bridge, Riverside (4pm)
The quacking good charity event returns this year, so make sure you've got a stake in a little plastic contender. Last year saw more than 2,500 toy ducks take to the water of the Wensum as part of the Great Norwich Duck Race, a charity event to raise money for the 1st Norwich Sea Scout Group. This year organisers hope to get a lot more plastic competitors involved. Each duck costs £2 and there are prizes for the first four across the finish line. Plus, new for 2015 'The Lord Mayor's Lucky Dip'. www.greatnorwichduckrace.co.uk
Bishop 's Open Gardens
Bishop Gardens, Bishopgate (1pm-5pm)
Enjoy games, stalls, tea and cakes in the beautiful historic gardens that are opened to the public specially for the Lord Mayor's Celebrations. Admission £3, under-16s and wheelchair users free. Children's Corner
Chapelfield Gardens (11am-5pm)
Make stuff, find stuff and do stuff! Punch & Judy, crafts and stories, plus balloons, magic and fun for tiny sports fans in Chapelfield Gardens. Also on Saturday.
Eaton Park (12pm/3pm)
Sit back and soak up an afternoon of music from this popular brass band playing live at Eaton Park band stand.