PRESTON, England – Organizers say they can no longer afford to stage the colourful Caribbean Carnival cavalcade which sees thousands line the streets between Moor Park and the city centre.
Instead they will hold a “static” event complete with stunning costumes, music and food on the Flag Market on June 11.
A lack of cash has meant the end of the road for the annual procession – at least for this year.
“It’s such a shame because the parade is part of the fabric of Preston,” said carnival treasurer Carol Nevins. “Funding has all-but dried up this year. It’s a sign of the times.”
The event is Preston’s most dazzling of the year, bringing a taste of Mardi Gras to the terraced streets of the city. But the procession has become another victim of austerity Britain.
The carnival needs around £30,000 (Cdn$57,300) to cover the costs of security, staging, crowd management, event equipment, cleansing and road closure staffing.
Yet with no donations forthcoming from the city council, Lancashire County Council and the Preston BID team, organizers have been forced to call off the popular parade which in past years has snaked its way between Moor Park and the city centre, featuring fabulous floats, dance troupes and Caribbean bands.
And, while a riot of colour and costumes will still provide an eye-catching show on the Flag Market, the event is unlikely to live up to past glories.
Cancellation of the street procession comes at the end of a torrid eight months for carnival organizers. In October they were in danger of having to bring the curtain down on the whole event when they lost two units at Oyston Mill for storing their elaborate costumes and where drance troupes practised.
But after moving three times – including a spell using storage space at Fulwood Leisure Centre – they are back at the Mill.
The not-for-profit organization is now planning to apply for charitable status in the hope it will open up new sources of funding.