In the biggest post pandemic event to be held in Ilkley, record crowds turned out to support Ilkley Carnival on May Day.
The streets on both The Grove and Brook Street were lined with thousands of people to watch the ‘Our Planet’ themed procession where Ben Rhydding Primary School were judged to be best in parade.
Many then followed the parade to enjoy the family fun day on the Carnival Showground. Spectators were thrilled by the stunts and skills of the record breaking 3SIXTY bicycle stunt team and other acts in the Discover Ilkley/Ilkley BID main arena. Elsewhere, the crowds sang along with a variety of local acts on the SORM Ilkley Rocks Stage and the Backstage Academy Acoustic Teepee.
Helen Rhodes from Ilkley BID said: “This was Ilkley BID’s first opportunity to sponsor the Ilkley Carnival and what an amazing event it was! Seeing the hordes of people of all ages lining the streets for the parade, many coming to Ilkley specially to see this fabulous spectacle of colour and cuteness, was really emotional. It’s a long time since we’ve been able to welcome so many people into our amazing town centre! Attracting visitors to Ilkley is a major aim for Ilkley BID and additionally, we have some major projects just launching such as the Ilkley Gift Card, so sponsoring the carnival, with the potential to have our messages seen by so many, was an easy choice. On top of the impact on visitor numbers, we know the money raised goes to local good causes and so with money invested in the circular economy in this way, it really is a win-win.”
Carnival Chairman, Andrew Stacey estimated visitor numbers topped 10,000 on East Holmes Field and thanked Ilkley for its support: “After a two-year enforced absence, I wondered if people still wanted Ilkley Carnival. The answer was a resounding success, I have never seen the town and showground as busy. It was great to see the immense efforts of the committee and hundreds of volunteers that assisted being rewarded with this support. I hope this translates into a record-breaking year.”
Colin Williams, Treasurer of Ilkley Carnival added: “We are still working through the numbers but I do expect we will exceed the profit of £15,000 we gave away at our last event in 2019. This will be a great help to our main beneficiary, The Friends of Ilkley Moor, who receive 50% of any profits and are hoping to use the funds to fund restoration work to the peatlands on the moor. It will also assist many other local groups.”
More photos from the day will be available soon, in the meantime a live stream of the parade was streamed on the Ilkley Carnival Facebook page and can be viewed at www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=2123326871174342