Carnival set to return to Exeter

The magic of the Carnival is set to return to the city after a gap of 24 years thanks to InExeter.

The new Exeter Carnival will take place on Saturday 26 November with an illuminated parade starting at 6pm. The carnival will travel through the city and will celebrate the community of Exeter.

Ann Hunter BID Manager at InExeter said: “After the isolation of the pandemic, our aim for Christmas 2022 was to make this a community focused event and what better way to deliver this than to bring back the Exeter Carnival. This event will celebrate and showcase Exeter as a creative and vibrant city.”

The last Exeter Carnival was held in November 1998. It was billed as Devon’s biggest Annual Street Party of the year with over 130 entries including illuminated floats, masqueraders on foot, bands, majorettes plus special entries.

Arthur Dyke, an original member of the Exeter Carnival Committee who produced the carnival for its full run 1977 to 1998, along with being its chairman for 15 years was approached and been supportive in delivering the 2022 event.

Now the secretary for the South Devon Carnival Association which runs a summer carnival circuit based around nine towns, Arthur was happy to help advise and guide InExeter in preparation for creating the new carnival, lending support from his contacts in the East Devon Carnival Circuit too. Well known and experienced in carnival circles, Arthur also used to produce a monthly carnival newsletter, the SWC Newsletter, which was very popular, covering all the Southwest carnivals.

Marina O’Shea said: “Bringing back carnival will be a big deal for many of Exeter’s residents. InExeter wanted to be sure that we were being true to the original carnival so we can promote the rich cultural history of the city. Having Arthur, with all his expertise, experience and passion for carnival and to be able support us in the planning of the Exeter Carnival is so incredibly special and invaluable. A huge and sincere thanks to Arthur. We hope Exeter Carnival 2022 makes him proud!”

Arthur Dyke, Chairman of the last Exeter Carnival said: “It was a massive surprise when I first heard from InExeter and their plans to bring the carnival back to Exeter. It is fantastic it is being revived after all these years and will be a key event for the people of Exeter.”

The new Exeter Carnival will parade up South Street, onto the High Street, up Sidwell Street to the Odeon roundabout and back down to finish on the junction to Paris Street. This will be the first large scale Christmas event organised by InExeter since 2019 when there was Five Nights of Lights across the city with different areas of the city hosting a switch on over the course of five nights. InExeter also hosted a street party in 2018 for the annual Christmas light switch on which saw over 27,000 people visiting to take part in the festivities.

The new Exeter Carnival is billed as a celebration of Exeter. Expect light up acts, floats and bands and carts in this carnival which will also celebrate the Christmas lights and festivities in the city.

As part of the lead up to the event, InExeter will be hosting some special pop-up areas in the city, for people to come and share their memories of the original Exeter Carnival and find out how to get involved in the new one. There will also be some further exciting announcements to come.

InExeter welcome all groups and societies to take part in the carnival and get involved. There are 14 classes covering everything from floats to walking entries for both adult and youth with three additional special awards including for most colourful, most entertaining and most festive entries. More information will be available soon on the Exeter Carnival website: www.exetercarnival.com.

This event is made possible by the city centre and Magdalen Road member businesses of InExeter, whose funding allows incredible events to take place in the city. The Business Improvement District for the city, InExeter, champion supporting local and look forward to welcoming people to this year’s InExeter Carnival.

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