Carnival grinds to a halt after 30-year run

PUBLISHED: 12:21 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 20:19 03 May 2010

AFTER almost 30 years as an annual event, St Albans Carnival is being scrapped because of a shortage of organisers. The district council itself had organised last year's event for the first time since 1977 after the usual organisers, the Round Table, was

AFTER almost 30 years as an annual event, St Albans Carnival is being scrapped because of a shortage of organisers. The district council itself had organised last year's event for the first time since 1977 after the usual organisers, the Round Table, was hit by falling membership. It was held on a Sunday in June and diverted to Clarence Park instead of the usual venue at Westminster Lodge because of the threat of roadworks in the city centre. Though the council hailed the 2005 carnival a success, it has decided to pull the plug on this year's event which was once the second largest carnival in the country after Notting Hill. Instead the council plans to merge some of the carnival's best features with a new-style Cultural Festival of St Albans which will run every year in future. District council heritage and tourism portfolio holder Cllr Melvyn Teare said this week: "The main reason we have decided not to run the carnival is because there is no group which is prepared to take responsibility for organising it." He said last year's carnival had been run by a small group of council members and officers but this year, because of other pressures, that was not possible. He added that the biennial Festival of St Albans, of which carnival would become part, was managed by Leisure Connection as part of its overall contract with the council and money was made available for the company to do that. The plan now was to create an annual cultural festival for two weeks from the end of June. "In alternate years this will work with the International Organ Festival and we hope we will be able to encourage many local organisations to join in. We want local groups to work together and to use the festival to raise funds for themselves as well as to make others more aware of them." The original carnival was launched to celebrate the Queen's Silver Jubilee, but in recent years attendances had fallen and it had become harder to run the annual procession. Last year's changes were seen as an attempt to revitalise the event, but it had to be reduced in scale because the date chosen clashed with the original dates when Herts Highways planned to close St Peter's Street for work on the city-centre safety and enhancement scheme.

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CountryPhile

I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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