The original Blackpool Carnival was a spectacular, huge event held in 1923. Local volunteers resurrected it in 2017 in a bid to create an event for local people and the community. A few years ago, the Blackpool group gained £10,000 from the Lottery fund to pay for its revival.
4 & 5 May 2024
This event is totally FREE.
Our Grand Carnival Procession leads off from North Pier at 12 noon on Sunday 5 May. It travels along the roadway promenade up to and dispersing at South Pier.
Also featuring at this years Blackpool Carnival –
Most of the local Asian Groups are working together to create a “festival of colour”, “festival of summer” and “festival of love”, also signifying the importance of good over evil and it’s a time to end disputes with others.
There will be a static display of hundreds of very expensive classic motor vehicles, such as Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Morgans, Aston martins etc etc from the South Pier area to the North Pier area and all in between along the walking part of the Blackpool Promenade.
The whole ethos of the Blackpool Carnival CIC is to get as much of the local community, education, community centres, charities, businesses, in fact everybody working together. Showcasing the huge amount of local talent to the world!
While celebrating the history and heritage of the previous 100 years, the Carnival is also looking forward to the next decades. Working towards ensuring that Blackpool Carnival is not only the biggest local event but is known and supported throughout the country and held in the same esteem as events such as the Edinburgh Fringe.
How to Take Part in Blackpool Carnival
Blackpool schools, children’s groups, sports groups, adult organisations and businesses are all welcome to join the Blackpool Carnival Parade. As with the other Fylde Coast galas, there’s a Carnival Queen and Retinue. All of the Gala Royalty from other local events are invited to take part.
- The event is free to attend, with acts, activities and events taking place on the seafront.
- Taking part in and organising the event is for us – for the people of Blackpool.
Blackpool Carnival is NOT organised by Live Blackpool. Please contact the event organisers for more information. All details correct at time of publication.
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The Early Blackpool Carnivals
Did you know? In 1879, Blackpool became the first place in Britain to have electric street lights.
Visitor numbers had fallen during the recent national depression. But on 18 & 19 September 1879 Blackpool celebrated ‘The Inauguration of the Lighting of the Town by Electric Light.’ 8 Siemens arc lamps were erected on the promenade, with one on each of the two piers (North and Central) to create a massive arena for carnival night.
On the night of 19 September 1879 a ‘Grand Carnival at Sea’ was held. A grand torchlit procession set off from the Drill Hall on Yorkshire Street. After a banquet of sumptuous foods a grand, mock naval battle was staged on the beach. 100,000 people came from miles around to see the ‘artificial sunshine’ provided by the arc lamps, and a ‘large ship on fire on the sea’.
This artificial sunshine was the precursor to the Blackpool Illuminations. Find out much more about how the Lights began here.
Blackpool Grand Carnival
What a massive event the first Blackpool Grand Carnival was! Held from 9-16 June 1923, 2 million visitors attended, arriving on 200 extra trains and 51,000 extra vehicles. Based on the world-famous carnival in Nice, it was an attempt to replace the Illuminations.
Doodles the Clown (real name William McAllister) appeared at the Tower Circus from 1915, but was also Carnival King in 1923. He arrived by aeroplane onto the beach – unfortunately the plane turned over as it landed! Queen to his King was the ‘Dame’ from the Pier Show, Fred Walmsley.
The King and Queen led a huge procession, including people wearing papier-mache heads. Craftsmen from Nice made them, working in Blackpool at the tram works.
Did you know? Floats were made in an old 1924 hangar (known as the ‘Carnival Shop’) at the side of the Corporation Donkey Stables on Rigby Road. Then Blackpool Corporation decided not to hold any more carnival events, and in 1936 it became the Illuminations Department.
Take a look at this British Pathe clip of the first event –
Florence Stevenson, a local music hall singer, was face of the carnival. Her face featured on thousands of commemorative pin brooches and badges of the time. And South Shore Open Air baths opened on 9 June to coincide with Carnival week.
It was such a success that organisers decided to make it an annual event – incorporating Blackpool Children’s Carnival dating back to 1897.
Between 11 and 21 June the following year the second Blackpool Carnival took place. But the 1924 event proved to be the last. Several of the days were event-free. Without any scheduled activities to take part in, many of the visitors just spent their time drinking and being merry! Little changes over the years! With all the problems that so much drunkenness created, the Council decided to hold a festival of Lights from 1925 instead. Of course that was to become the world famous Blackpool Illuminations.
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