History of the Carnival

In 2007, the inaugural meeting of Newark Arts Forum (comprising of business and arts professionals) discussed the possibility of bringing a large-scale event to Newark, one that involved a cross-section of the community. Soon, the idea of bringing the Carnival back to life was born.

A committee comprising of arts practitioners, business professionals, politicians and teachers was founded and the mammoth task of promotion and float-building began.

The date in July 2007 was set and the the theme Newark Past and Present was agreed. We had just five months to build this event from scratch. There was no money, no participants and more importantly, no support. But the idea rapidly caught on and it was looking positive. In just a couple of months, we had more than 1000 participants and a number of good commercial sponsors.

The day itself was a huge success. More than 5000 people lined the streets to watch the procession as it made its way from Riverside Park in Newark to Sconce Hills Park to join Sconcefest, a free family fun day.

Building on its inaugural success, the future of the Carnival looked auspicious. Subsequent years were even more successful, and in 2010 we had around 7000 people watching the parade on Newark’s historic streets.

In 2012 – we recognised that it was an extra special year for Britain. To celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in June, and the Olympics in London during July, what better year to do a parade themed around showcasing all Britain has to offer? So that is what we did as the “Best of British” Carnival started from the Market Place on its new route. Despite the never-ending rain, the event was the biggest to date.

Our seventh carnival in 2013 saw the latest number of groups and participants take part, and was the first year that we joined forces with the Newark Festival. Over 30 groups registered, seeing close to 1000 people parade through the town, including Newark’s twin towns who celebrated their respective twinning anniversaries celebrated. The theme “All About Newark” saw groups celebrate all the best about the town, and the people that live in it.

In 2014, we brought plenty of music and dancing to the streets of Newark as we selected “Newark is Alive With The Sound of Music” as our theme. Over 600 people took part in the event, which again joined forces with the Newark Festival. This year, we say groups bring the best of the 1970’s to the streets, as well as Jazz, Pop and even the exotic – in the form of belly dancers – taking part in the event. The sun shone on this years event, with thousands lining the route to wave and cheer.

We now look to our ninth year in 2015, with news on the event and theme coming in the Autumn of 2014. See you soon…