Lord Mayor's Celebration in Norwich

Emma Lee It's a chance to get out and about and enjoy the best that Norwich has to offer. Whether it's dancing to the beat of Rio De Janeiro's top carnival band, following the colourful floats as they wind their way around the city centre, or ooh-ing and ah-ing as fireworks leap into the sky above the castle, the Lord Mayor's Celebration has something for everyone.

Emma Lee

It's a chance to get out and about and enjoy the best that Norwich has to offer. Whether it's dancing to the beat of Rio De Janeiro's top carnival band, following the colourful floats as they wind their way around the city centre, singing along to the movie classic Grease, or ooh-ing and ah-ing as fireworks leap into the sky above the castle, the Lord Mayor's Celebration has something for everyone.

Tonight, Thursday, the Whiffler Comedy Festival, featuring some of the country's hottest names in stand-up, will kick-start four days of fun to mark the start of the new civic year.

As ever, the centrepiece of the weekend will be the historic street procession. Leaving from Newmarket Road, and led by Lord Mayor Jeremy Hooke, around 60 floats will be taking part. And when the parade finishes, there will still be plenty of things to do.

Monobloco, who hail from Rio de Janerio - the home of the carnival - headline the first night of the Chapelfield Gardens Music Festival. Or you could wander around the city centre - you never know where you might discover some exciting street entertainers. And, of course, parade day wouldn't be complete without a fireworks display.

It's a chance to get out and enjoy the city's wealth of open spaces - fingers crossed the weather will be kind.

Most Read

Helen Selleck, Norwich City Council events manager, says: “The Lord Mayor's Celebration is one of the highlights of the social and cultural calendar in the city every year.

“Norwich has so many parks and open spaces and these four days of mostly free events present a great opportunity for people to come out and make the most of that and experience some great events.”

“The event has really grown over the last 12 years or so. It's a celebration for all the community, and I think there's something for everyone.”

It's also a chance to make a difference to a really good cause. All the money collected at the carnival will go to the Lord Mayor and the Sheriff's designated charities. The civic charity for 2008/9 is the Norwich Riverside Lifeboat. A familiar sight on the River Wensum, it provides a 24-hour, 365-day-a-year call- out service for emergencies in the city.

Volunteers have recently secured a new base at the city's yacht station on Riverside, which will enable crews to work more efficiently, especially at night in bad weather.

WHAT'S ON

Here's a day by day guide to what's happening and when. Events are free unless otherwise stated.

Thursday July 3

The Whiffler Comedy Night, Castle Gardens, featuring Lucy Porter, Jon Richardson and Junior Simpson. The show starts at 8pm - over 18s only. Tickets cost £6 (£5 concessions) in advance from the Tourist Information Centre on 01603 727927 or £10 on the gate. Note that this event usually sells out in advance.

Friday July 4

The Norwich Pops Orchestra presents the Glory of Handel, at Norwich Cathedral, 7.30pm. Conducted by Geoff Davidson, the orchestra will perform Water Music, Fireworks Music, Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Hallelujah Chorus and Zadok the Priest. Tickets cost £14, £11 and £9 for adults, £12, £10 and £8 concessions. Box office: Prelude Records, 25b St Giles Street, Norwich. 01603 628319.

The Dragon Parade starts at Norwich Cathedral at 9pm and will finish at the Forum at approximately 10.30pm.

Time for a nostalgia fix - Grease is being screened at Castle Green from 10pm. Tickets cost £3.50 in advance (£3 concessions) from the Tourist Information Centre or £5 on the gate. The film was chosen via an online poll on the Norwich City Council website.

Saturday July 5

There's a funfair from 11am-midnight in Chapelfield Gardens.

The first part of the Chapelfield Gardens Music Festival, from 1pm-4pm, is a Norwich Arts Centre local band showcase featuring Ten Ten-Tackle and Bear.

There will be street entertainers performing around the city centre between 2pm and 3pm and 7.30pm-10pm.

And there will be DJs at Henry's in the Haymarket, from 2pm-1am.

The Lord Mayor's 5km Classic Road Race, 6.30pm, city centre.

The Lord Mayor's Street Procession leaves from Newmarket Road at 6.45pm and winds its way round the city centre.

The second part of the Chapelfield Gardens Music Festival, from 7pm-midnight, kicks off with the Sweetbeats, followed by funky Latin sensation Peyoti for President, at 8pm. The event is headlined by top Rio de Janeiro carnival band Monobloco.

The performance stage, at City Hall, features hip hop and street dancers Knightshift, can-can troupe Les Fifis Farfelous, Dholi dancers and musicians Dholi Blasters and Bhangra Blasters, ambient movers the Slinkies, plus the Emergency Services Choir. Entertainment starts at 8pm.

Or catch the Samba Sun Down from 8.30pm-9.15pm in Gentleman's Walk.

And the traditional fireworks display is at Norwich Castle at 10.30pm.

Sunday July 6

Celebrations to mark Sewell Park's centenary are being held from 11am-4pm, including a performance by the Hellesdon and Sprowston Brass Band at 3pm.

There's a funfair from noon-7pm in Chapelfield Gardens.

Also in Chapelfield Gardens are live bands, from 12.30pm - Pinky Umbrella, Fat 45, Neck, Ghettoplotz, Latin Dub Sound System, and No 1 Station.

The Bishop of Norwich's Garden Open Day is being held from 2pm-5pm. Admission costs £2.50 for adults, and accompanied children get in free. Last entry is at 4.30pm.

Cambridge Touring Theatre present King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone at the Whiffler Theatre in Castle Gardens from 3pm-5.15pm.

Road closures and travel information for Saturday

Road closures will be in force in the city centre on Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday. They are as follows:

t 7am Saturday to 6am Sunday: St Peter's Street, Bethel Street (between the junction with St Peter's Street to the Millennium Library car park entrance).

t 3pm-8pm: Newmarket Road (between its junctions with Mile End Road and Ipswich Road) (access for residents and visitors/ emergency vehicles/ procession participants), Grove Road.

t 5pm Saturday to 1am Sunday: Brigg Street, White Lion Street, Haymarket, Castle Street, Davey Place, Gentleman's Walk, Orford Place, Arcade Street, Hay Hill.

t 6pm-12am: Whitefriars (access for residents and visitors/ emergency vehicles/ procession participants, including access to Bedding Lane and Bishopgate) St Martin at Palace Plain (access for residents and visitors/ emergency vehicles/ procession participants including access to Bedding Lane and Bishopgate).

t 6pm Saturday to 1am Sunday: Agricultural Hall Plain, Bank Plain, Bank Street, Bedford Street, Castle Meadow, Chapelfield North, Chapelfield Road, Cleveland Road, Farmers Avenue, Fishergate, Gaol Hill, Little Bethel Street, Market Avenue, Opie Street, Orford Hill, Orford Street, Palace Street, Queens Street, Rampant Horse Street, Redwell Street, Red Lion Street, Rose Avenue, St Andrews Hill, St Stephens Road, St Stephens Street, St Giles Street, Theatre Street, Tombland, Timberhill, Upper King Street, Westlegate, William Booth Street.

Travel

Extra Park and Ride services will run until 11pm from Norwich Bus Station to the Thickthorn, Postwick and airport sites. First and Konect bus services - all city centre stops will close at 5.30pm. All services after 5.30pm will run to and from Norwich Bus Station. The normal Saturday timetable will be in operation during the evening.

REMEMBER

Come prepared for the weather - bring sun hats, sun cream, a rain mac and plenty of water.

Do not bring glass bottles or alcohol to any of the events.

All people coming to the event are advised to use the Park and Ride, train, bus or cycle. An information line will be staffed from July 4 to 6 on 01603 212626. Recorded information is available at all other times.