Don’t let the sun go down on carnival

Biggleswade Carnival, 2014 PNL-140626-120028001
Biggleswade Carnival, 2014 PNL-140626-120028001

Public apathy is bringing the long-term future of Biggleswade Carnival’s famous parade into severe jeopardy.

As of this week just one float and a handful of vehicles had been booked into this year’s procession scheduled for Saturday, June 24.

It follows a depressing pattern of recent years where only a late surge of interest had ensured the carnival parade, the highlight of the town’s summer calendar, went ahead.

A carnival spokesman said: “We seem to be stuck in Groundhog Day – it’s the same story each year and it’s not sustainable.

“Biggleswade Carnival parade has been going for over 50 years and thousands of people enjoy watching it, but when it comes to getting people to take part it’s like drawing teeth. Put simply, if people don’t put themselves forward it will come to an end and that will sad for everybody.”

The lack of response is particularly disappointing this year as organisers are hoping to raise enough money from activities to pay for a life-saving defibrillator to be located in the town centre. That additional money – alongside cash given to local worthy causes – will be difficult to raise without a strong parade.

Biggleswade Carnival has been operating since the 1950s without a break. There were dangers it would fold in the late 1980s but a concerted community effort saw a new committee formed. Since then floats have frequently numbered between 15 and 20 but that has dwindled in the past few years.

The spokesman said: “First things first, we need to this year to go ahead as planned. The one encouraging thing is that we have had a good number of enquiries this year. We urge those who have expressed interest over the past few weeks and months to book themselves in as soon as possible.

“We welcome more floats, decorated vehicles and dressed walkers to join in. Any participation is welcome.

“But going forwards we would welcome an injection of ideas and support so we can plan with confidence in future years.”

This year’s theme is nursery rhymes. Contact Pam now on 07488 701527 or visit www.biggleswade-carnival.org to download an application form.

The carnival programme gets underway in earnest this weekend with a Horse Race Night at the Gardeners Arms pub in Potton Road. It’s on Saturday – simply turn up by 8pm to join in.

That’s followed by the Darts Night on Monday, June 12 at Biggleswade Social Club.