A look ahead to the Preston Caribbean Carnival
- Credit: Pics; John Cocks
The event was founded 45 years ago, making it one of the longest running cultural celebrations in the city.
Preston has a justifiable reputation as a party city but it's not just the huge university population that makes it go with a swing. Preston Caribbean Carnival is a big street party and 2019 is special as it is 45 years since it was founded.
It's headed up by Tracey Harris, which is ironic as when she was a young girl she could stand it. The thought of parading through the streets in colourful costume filled her with dread.
'My mum and brother were really involved and loved it,' said Tracey. 'But I hated it. I had to dance in the parade and there was nothing I wanted to do less. I was shy and to be in front of all those people wasn't fun. But I always knew what a special event it was and when the opportunity to become involved came up, I wanted to do it. It is such a wonderful celebration. I'm proud to be a part of it.'
It is an event that has been woven into decades of Preston's history and is the largest and longest running cultural celebration in the city outside of Preston Guild.
This year's carnival, on June 23, is expected to attract 15,000 people. It will feature its trademark spectacular parade at Moor Park with local and visiting dance troupes in traditional carnival costumes, live performances from Caribbean Latin bands, steelpan orchestras and One Voice Community Choir as well as food stalls and children's activities. A music event, One Park Ten Sounds, will also be held the day before as a new fundraising initiative for the carnival to drum up the £30,000 needed to stage the event.
'The Preston Caribbean Carnival is the biggest party Preston will see in 2019,' said Tracey. 'We'll be celebrating the flamboyant, creative Caribbean culture in our city as well as bring lots of performers from around the country to us.
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'It also shows time and again the love and support we get in Preston. That helps make it such a wonderful event. We are determined it will be our best yet. There is a lot to do but everyone gets stuck in. It will be a glorious celebration.'