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Countdown to “spectacular” Mardi-Gras themed Carnival begins!

All set for an 11am start to Ilkley Carnival parade are pupils from Addingham, All Saints, Burley Oaks and Askwith Primary Schools alongside carnival representative Nick Babb (left) and Ilkley BID board member Mark Smith (right)

The clock is ticking as the countdown begins to what is being billed as Ilkley’s “most colourful – and biggest” carnival ever!


Featuring the largest parade in Ilkley Carnival’s history with 1,300 school pupils, local groups and organisations represented, the Mardi Gras-themed Ilkley Carnival 2024 is set to be a sea of colour, music and dance as the parade takes the one-mile route from The Grove and finishes at the event showground at East Homes Field.


This week, school pupils from Addingham, All Saints, Burley Oaks and Askwith Primary Schools joined carnival representatives and main sponsors Ilkley BID to start the countdown to carnival day on Monday 6 May. Giving a sneak peak of their parade costumes, the children, their parents and teachers also gave a few insights into the hard work going on behind the scenes.


First time entrants Askwith Primary and Addingham Primary both said the children were “super excited” to be involved and to walk with all the other schools.


Liz Berry, Askwith Primary PTA chair added: “This is the first time we’ve been a part of the Ilkley Carnival parade and our parents have been working hard on our costumes for months! We are absolutely thrilled to be taking part – our children are excited to bring colour, creativity and lots of squawking to this much-loved community event!”


Burley Oaks teacher and parent Lucy Ashton said all the children are excited about being involved in the carnival and bringing cheer to the crowds, while All Saints Primary School’s carnival committee member Alex Pickles said: “We’re all so excited to show off the world of Mardi Gras and to see all the costumes on parade!”


Profits raised from Ilkley Carnival go back into the community and this year’s primary beneficiary is AWARE (Airedale and Wharfedale Autism Resource), a parent run autism support group.


The event is made possible with additional sponsorship and support from local organisations including Ilkley BID, Bradford Grammar School and SD Property. Beginning at 11am on Monday 6 May on The Grove, the parade finishes at the carnival showground opposite Ilkley Lido, where entertainment includes the motorbike stunt team Defying Gravity, a fun dog show, free craft tent, trade and charity stalls and Ilkley Rocks featuring live local bands.


Ilkley Carnival Chair Andrew Stacey said: “There are some changes for 2024 as our additional security measures are preparing us for upcoming Martyn’s Law legislation which, combined with increased costs for everything from insurance to fencing, means we’re having to adjust our on-day ticket prices to £8 per adult.


“Hundreds of volunteer hours go into making Ilkley Carnival a success and alongside creating a wonderful day out with all the vibrancy, joy and spectacle that the parade brings, the real beneficiaries are the local groups and organisations who benefit from our showground ticket sales, sponsorship and donations. Ilkley Carnival is run for the community by the community and we can’t wait to see and deliver another herculean Ilkley effort on Monday!”


Ilkley Carnival tickets cost £8 for adults and £2 for children (aged 3-16), senior citizens and carers (under 3s free). Full price tickets can be bought on the gates on the day or for £6 for an advance adult ticket from Ilkley Tesco or outside Bettys on Saturday May 4 and Sunday May 5.

For more information, visit and for all the news follow @IlkleyCarnival on X Instagram and Facebook.  


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