All the fun of Harpenden Carnival: with gallery

Children enjoy a fairground ride

Children enjoy a fairground ride - Credit: Archant

ANIMAL events and music are unlikely bedfellows but the two combined to help turn Harpenden Carnival into a huge success on Saturday.

In the absence of a procession this year, Harpenden Round Table put all its energies into making sure that the carnival in Rothamsted Park had something for everyone and enough to keep visitors there throughout the afternoon.

And while in previous years, the crowds had tended to drift off mid-afternoon, there were still people milling around at 6pm listening to music performed by students from the town’s three secondary schools.

Animals was the theme of this year’s carnival and there was plenty to involve adults and children alike. The carnival dog show with categories ranging from best puppy to fastest Bonio eater was a great success and there was also sheep shearing, a dog and duck show and a falconry display as well as reptiles and creepy crawlies.

Live music, ranging from choirs to ukuleles and rock, was performed by students from St George’s, Roundwood Park and Sir John Lawes Schools, all of whom were given free rein to choose what music they wanted to perform. They were joined by Rockschool, which was set up by Herts county council’s music service as an extra-curricular activity within secondary schools.

The return of the tea tent run by the Ladies Circle and Tangent was warmly welcomed and all local groups who would have been involved in the procession were accommodated in the park.

Harpenden Carnival chair, Graham Halkyard, explained that when they learned there would not be a procession this year because Rotary could not get enough volunteers together, Round Table had set about creating a different type of carnival which would encourage visitors to stay throughout the afternoon.

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He went on: “Traditionally with the procession what tends to happen is that you get an influx of people coming in straight away and then it dies off quite quickly at around 3pm.

“Our proposal was to try and extend the time with music by local schools and involve people who would have gone into the procession.”

Graham went on: “We would love to have the procession back because that is the ideal situation. But we got the music into the running order more than in the past and the way it worked this year was that instead of a rush after the procession and numbers dying away mid afternoon, by 4pm people were still coming in.”

He said the Round Table could not have had better weather. “It was a lovely sunny day, not too hot and not too cold. It was a different carnival from in the past and with a different feel but we were really pleased with how it went.”

All the money raised from the carnival will go to local and national charities.