Going for gold at Harpenden’s 50th carnival celebrations

Judson Sparks, 3 on the shoulders of dad and former Harpenden Round Table chairman Bob Sparks high f

Judson Sparks, 3 on the shoulders of dad and former Harpenden Round Table chairman Bob Sparks high fives Mario at Harpenden Carnival - Credit: Archant

Harpenden strikes gold tomorrow as the town celebrates the 50th anniversary of its annual carnival.

Free for the first time, the event promises to combine old favourites with new attractions, and is being run by Harpenden Round Table with the support of the town council.

The fun starts at 12 noon with the return of the specialist cars procession, as a massive array of colourful acts and floats travel from Lydekker Park along the High Street to the carnival’s new home on the Common.

Carnival chair Joe Avison said: “We are delighted to be working with Harpenden Town Council as things like the procession would have been impossible without their expert help.

“We’ve rolled the Common Discovery Day and the carnival together to make a really special 50th anniversary event. Over the years one of the main criticisms we’ve had is that the carnival can be quite expensive, so this year, we’ve taken the decision to have free entry as well as providing a huge range of free attraction and activities thanks to the support of our sponsors.”

Other highlights include an animatronic dinosaur, Bluey the clown and his fire engine, sheep and dog shows, falconry displays, archery, face painting, acrobatics, juggling, magic, and educational stands devoted to bats, bees and soil.

Other free attractions separate from the carnival include Art on the Common, a History Society exhibition in Park Hall and a cricket match on the Common. There will also be live music from local school bands, singer Emma McGrath, a steel drum band, reggae artists and much more.

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Money raised on the day will go towards Harrison’s Fund in aid of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research, homelessness and exclusion charity NOAH Enterprise Luton, Community Meeting Point for people whose lives have been affected by mental illness, and the Mayor’s charities: the Harpenden Trust and Southdown Play Areas Working Group.

Round Table chair Paul Pepperell added: “As always, we could not put on the carnival without the support of a number local groups, I would like to say a huge thank you to The Mayor, Alex, Julie and Sally at Harpenden Town Council, Circle, Tangent, 41 Club, the Public Halls, Rothamsted Park and Fairview for parking. In addition Sir John Lawes, St George’s and Roundwood Schools who will be providing bands for our main stage.”