IT’S party time in Huddersfield as the Caribbean Carnival returns to the town centre.
The annual event, now in its 28th year, will see up to 30,000 people join in the fun at the procession and party.
Yvette Marks-Noel, the carnival’s marketing director, is as much of a carnival fan as she is organiser.
Yvette said: “This is my first year involved but I’ve been to every year of the carnival.
“It’s an amazing event, it brings Caribbean culture out into the open and it brings everyone else together, it doesn’t matter what your background everyone gets involved.”
Organised by the Huddersfield African Caribbean Cultural Trust, it starts at 7.30pm on Friday with a pre-party Carnival Royale Show, where contestants compete for the crown and the opportunity to lead the carnival procession. It runs at Huddersfield Town Hall until 11.30pm.
Then at midnight the party takes to the streets with a procession of colour.
It is steeped in tradition and the ‘Mud Mas’ involves participants known as Jab Jabs covering themselves – and others – in paint, chocolate mud or white powder. It features music and revellers parading through the town.
Then on Saturday the main event gets underway with the parade at 1pm from the Hudawi Centre into St George’s Square which features an array of flamboyant costumes.
In the square there will be food, stalls, music and entertainment until 8pm.
Yvette added: “We were excited to go back to Greenhead Park because it wasn’t available because of the work before, but because of all the rain our contingency plan was to move it to St George’s Square.
“There will be about 40 food stalls, two stages with music and performers, including a stage for young performers.
“I think the reason it is so popular is because Huddersfield is a close-knit community, people get involved in events like this and support them.
“Also, a lot of people from the Caribbean community may move away but they come back for carnival.”
Carnival has grown from one float in the Mayor’s parade to become the largest festival in the Kirklees calendar and attracting an audience in the region of 30,000.
Yvette said: “This is my first year involved in organising the carnival. It’s only a small team who does all the work and I cannot believe how much there is to do, but it’s been fun and I’m glad to be part of it.
“I can’t wait for it to get started.”