Traffic stopping event returns to Whitley Bay on a wave of community love

A carnival parade promoting recycling is heading to the heart of Whitley Bay this weekend.

The Carnival Parade weaves its way through the streets of Whitley Bay in 2018.
The Carnival Parade weaves its way through the streets of Whitley Bay in 2018.

After the 2021 Whitley Bay Carnival planned for May was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic, organisers were keen to still hold an event this year.

And they are holding the Whitley Bay Carnival Green Parade on Saturday (September 18) from 3.45pm to 5.30pm, featuring special guests Spark and a parade of beautifully recycled and remodelled costumes.

Despite the difficulties in running the usual carnival clubs, workshops and rehearsals preparations have gone ahead with outdoor drop in costume sessions over the summer holidays and shared video tutorials.

Carol Alevroyianni, Salto Arts co-director and carnival producer, said: “Funding a carnival parade when we couldn’t rely on the trade income and sponsorship from the usual three day event seemed impossible but local business supporters Pantrinis, Di Meo’s and Fishermans Bay who have all remained open throughout the pandemic stepped in to help.

“And with them and the Whitley Bay Big Local Creative Civic Change funding for community activity we were able to apply to Arts Council England for a grant.

"We are lucky to have some really talented and experienced artists here and lots of people who have been involved with carnival since 2014 have developed valuable skills in costume making and in creating the spectacular parade pieces.

"The result is that we will be wowing audiences with some truly original sights this Saturday.

"So many people have been involved in the making this year with over 100 children taking part from one school and over 90 from another that it will be interesting to see who is left to cheer them on.”

Lindsay Ford, a teacher at Rockcliffe First School, said: “The preparations this year have been absolutely amazing and we have seen a higher level of engagement than ever before.

"Pupils (including ex pupils), siblings, parents, grandparents, everyone has been behind it. There is a buzz in school and lots of excitement.”

David Carnaffan, chief executive of Whitley Bay Big Local, said: “Whitley Bay Big Local is delighted to support the Whitley bay Carnival for the eighth year, in partnership with Salto Arts Productions.

"Funding from the 'Creative Civic Change' programme has supported numerous workshops and activities in preparation for the carnival, which has seen hundreds of people involved in creative activities and the development of local people as leaders in arts and creativity.

"It is really exciting to again be involved in a celebration of the arts and creativity right here in Whitley Bay.

"Given the challenges faced this year it's great to see the carnival back and looking better than ever.”

The parade begins at 4pm on Saturday by Worldbeaters Spark in Station Road.

The carnival will process along Whitley Road, Park View, Marine Ave and across the Spanish City Plaza to the revamped central promenade.

For more information check out the website or see Facebook @whitleybaycarnival

People are being invited to share their pictures on social media using the hashtags #26waystogreen #whitleybaycarnival