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Thousands turn out to celebrate as Ilkley Carnival hailed best yet
11:13am Friday 11th May 2012 in Local news
An Olympic-style tournament, a celebrity chef and a mini town crier were among the attractions at Ilkley Carnival.
Thousands of people flocked to the event, despite rain showers, and organisers are hailing it as the biggest and best yet.
The carnival got under way with a parade featuring about 800 children, reflecting this year’s theme, Summer of Celebrations.
Tom Rennolds, a finalist on BBC1’s Masterchef programme, judged the parade along with the Lord Mayor of Bradford, councillor Naveeda Ikram, Ilkley MP Kris Hopkins, Malcolm Hoddy, editor of the Ilkley Gazette and the Wharfedale and Aireborough Observer, and Ilkley Parish Council chairman Heathcliffe Bowen. The overall winner was Sacred Heart Primary School, Ilkley.
Mr Rennolds also judged a hospitality Olympics event, featuring teams from pubs and hotels in the town.
Carnival committee member Suzanne Johns said: “We’ve had an excellent turnout, we’re aiming for this year’s carnival to be the biggest and best yet.
“The streets were lined with people for the parade and there’s been a fantastic atmosphere, despite the dark skies and rain.
“The support from the local community has been amazing. We’ve had more business support than ever, with 42 businesses sponsoring events. There are more than 60 trade and charity stalls.
“The overall theme was Summer of Celebrations, celebrating this year’s events such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.”
Other events in the main arena, at Denton Road playing fields, included a painting competition, won by Alfie Weston whose artwork went on the front of the carnival brochure, and a shop window display, won by Nora’s Interiors and Gifts. There was also an under-nines football tournament, won by Ilkley Juniors, a falconry and lurchers display, and a taekwondo demonstration.
Ilkley town crier Chris Richard was accompanied by a junior town crier who won a competition to join him.
In the run-up to this year’s event, organisers were urging people not to attempt to enter without paying. The committee claimed thousands of pounds had been lost over recent years by people sneaking in without paying an entry fee.
“Funds go to a range of local causes, so it’s important that everyone pays the entry fee,” Mrs Johns said. “We hope to raise more than £10,000 this year.”
Since the carnival started, funds have contributed towards the building of The Grove’s bandstand and swimming equipment at the lido, and supported groups such as Ben Rhydding Sports Club, Olicanian Cricket Club and Ilkley Rugby Club.