The clock is ticking as the countdown begins to what is being billed as Ilkley’s “most spectacular” carnival ever!
Dressed to depict The Coronation, more than 1,000 people – including pupils from every Ilkley primary school – will assemble on The Grove to process through the streets, finishing at the carnival showground on Monday May 1, where jousting on horseback and family-focussed activities will entertain the crowds.
Ilkley Carnival Chair Andrew Stacey said groups have been working since Christmas creating costumes which promise to be the best the town has ever seen.
“We have Spitfires, Beefeaters, Horse Guards a Tower of London, “horse” drawn carriages, a London Bus, the Crown Jewels and The Crown itself – all made by hand with the dedication and hard work of so many people.
“It is going to be spectacular, and the buzz and excitement is tangible in the town – from schools and businesses to youth groups and the shops! With the involvement of so many, we’re confident that Ilkley is staging a Coronation procession to rival the King’s Coronation itself!”
Donna Russell, Head Teacher of Ashlands Primary School whose entry is “Commonwealth Celebrates The Coronation”, said the Ashlands community has come together to prepare for the event.
“Many parents and carers have worked tirelessly on costumes and props, all of which have been prepared using recyclable materials,” she said. “Our children have painted the flags of the Commonwealth and we’ve been busy learning a school song for the parade. My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who has supported us.”
She added: “The children are excited, the families are excited and as the school's new headteacher, I’m extremely proud to be part of what will be a wonderful start to the Coronation Celebrations.”
Sacred Heart Assistant Head Teacher Claire Gilhooly and parent of Sacred Heart pupil Rosie Gilhooly (pictured) added: “Our staff and parents have been meeting to plan our entry since January and we’re all very excited to get into ‘carnival spirit’.
“In March we held a Saturday ‘carnival craft day’ so a lot of the costumes in our entry have been made by the children themselves which is wonderful! It is such an important calendar event for our whole school community - we have done a practise walk around our school grounds and have even learnt a song to commemorate the coronation of our King - so listen out for us as we walk along The Grove!”
All profits raised from Ilkley Carnival go back into the community and the event is made possible with additional sponsorship and support from local organisations including High Speed Training, Ilkley BID, Bradford Grammar School, Aireborough Skip Hire and Mayfield View Ilkley.
Beginning at 11am with its 1,000 strong procession along The Grove, the parade finishes at East Holmes Fields showground on Denton Road, where entertainment will run throughout the day including the Knights of Albion Steamhorse Stunt Team in the Discover Ilkley area hosted by Rombalds Radio, a fun dog show, the free Bradford Grammar Junior School Craft Tent, trade and charity stalls and Ilkley Rocks featuring live local bands.
Andrew added: “While we know the crowds will come out for the parade itself, we’re hoping visitors continue with us onto the carnival showground, where 90% of our funds are raised for the local community. Ticket sales and visitors on the field are where we make the most difference to our community and is why we put so much effort into creating a day of activities, shows, events and entertainment.”
Ilkley Amateur Operatic Society has been awarded Ilkley Carnival primary beneficiary status to help fund vital refurbishment work to its “Operatic House” rehearsal premises and community hub. Remaining funds will be divided between Ben Rhydding Scouts and Guides and other local groups who actively support and help at the annual event.
Ilkley Carnival tickets cost £6 for adults and £2 for children (aged 3-16), senior citizens and carers (under 3s free). Tickets can be bought on the gates on the day or reduced price advanced tickets, saving adults £1, can be bought from Ilkley Tesco or outside Bettys on Saturday April 29.