Carnival time at Norwich Lord Mayor’s Celebrations

The Lord Mayor's Street Procession is the highlight of the weekend.

The Lord Mayor's Street Procession is the highlight of the weekend. - Credit: Archant

The sun is shining, summer is here — it's time to party. Norwich will this weekend echo to the sights and sounds of carnival with the Lord Mayor's Celebrations. SIMON PARKIN has a look at what's in store.

Take 60 floats full of outlandishly costumed party-goers, some wacky street entertainment and thousands of revellers. Mix them together and what have you got? — the recipe for another fun-filled weekend of Lord Mayor Celebrations.

Norwich is gearing up its three days feast of entertainment, featuring performers from all over the world. Many of the events are free, so it's a great opportunity to get out and about and enjoy our fine city at its best.

Of course, the centrepiece of the weekend will be the carnival procession on Saturday evening, when dozens of colourful floats, along with gymnasts, dancers, drummers and costumes, that will snake through the city centre.

This year it will again set off at the earlier time of 5pm and finish at 7.30pm.

Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council, said: 'This is one of my favourite events of the year in Norwich and it is a must for everyone. Wherever you go for these four days you will know something amazing is happening - something that seems to be true of the city throughout the year now.

'So get out there and cheer the Lord Mayor's Street Procession, enjoy the spectacular fireworks show and check out all the other things that are part of this diverse four-day festival.'

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The fun actually kicks off tonight with an acoustic evening of home-grown talent in Chapelfield Gardens from 7.30pm to 9.30pm and comes to a close on Sunday when families can enjoy the Great Norwich Duck Race, Norwich Six Bridge River Swim, live bands and much more.

New to this year's event are The John Peel Archive Sunday Sessions, when DJs will be going through decades of his massive collection, including some hidden gems at Chapelfield Gardens from 1pm to 7pm.


The World Market

Gentleman's Walk (Fri, 9am-6pm/Sat 9am-11pm/Sun 10am-4pm)

The world village market returns offering a feast on the street over the three days with stalls galore. There will be a great range of food including crêpes, bread and French cheese. Also crafts, clothing and gifts from around the world.

Gas Hill Gasp

Gas Hill, Thorpe Hamlet (7.30pm-9.30pm)

The infamous Gas Hill Gasp returned in 2011 nearly 10 years after the cycling event was last run. The Gasp has been around since the 1940s as classic hill climb time trial. Dozens of uphill cyclists with calves of steel will take on one of the city's steepest hills. Heats of four will race to the top of Gas Hill.

Swing Into Sunset

Millennium Plain (6pm)

Jonathan Wyatt and his Big Band are back for a special free performance to help put the swing the Lord Mayor's celebrations. East Anglia's premiere big band, they plays a wide variety of music, varying from the bluesy swing of Count Basie and his Orchestra, to modern up-tempo funk and Latin music, as well as all the classic big band favourites.


Children's Corner

Chapelfield Gardens (Sat 11am-5pm/Sun 1pm-5pm)

There will plenty to keep the young ones entertained in Chapelfield Gardens on both Saturday and Sunday with the special kiddies area hosting everything from circus skills and Punch & Judy to crafts, balloons and stories.

Medieval Market

Chapelfield Gardens (Sat 11am-10pm/Sun 1pm-7pm)

Get a taste of the past at this special market that offers the chance to sample tasty fare from the medieval period. There will also be craft demonstrations, stalls, re-enactments, wandering musicians and medieval merriment from a very special fool.

Festival Funfair

Chapelfield Gardens (Sat 11am-10pm/Sun 1pm-7pm)

Thrills, spills and the opportunity to hook-a-duck and have your fortune told as the traditional funfair rolls back into Chapelfield Gardens. Featuring rides ranging from 1890 right up to the 21st century.

The Forum Stage

Millennium Plain (12pm-10.30pm)

An all-day eclectic mash up of up-beat performances outside The Forum. Expect infectious, energetic, upbeat movement and rhythms from near and afar with a bit of magic. Performers who will be taking to the stage include the Pantasy Steel Band, the Garage Slam Crew, Nuba Nour, Pulse Dance Company, Strictly Flamenco, the Dohl Blasters, Alison Sparrow, Norwich Swing Dance and many more.

Bo Nanafana Social Club

London Street (Sat 12pm-10.15pm/Sun 12pm-5pm)

After a successful introduction last year, cabaret kings Bo Nanafana will be taking over London Street for two days of retro revelry. Their show will feature street shows, dancing, dressing-up and surprises, plus on Saturday the Fabulous Lounge Swingers and Miss Polly Hoops, and Sunday The Vagaband.

BBC Norfolk Introducing

Chapelfield Gardens (Sat 3pm-10pm/Sun 1pm-7pm)

BBC Norfolk Introducing will again be showcasing the best of Norwich's up-and-coming bands. This year they're taking over the Chapelfield Gardens Bandstand over two days. Those who will be performing include The Rumble and The Thinking Men.

The Lord Mayor's 5km Classic Road Race

Norwich City Centre (4.45pm)

From Norwich Cathedral to St Stephens Street, this 5km road race, first staged in 1996, attracts the best quality field for an event of its kind in the region. Watch the red-faced but determined runners start to arrive back through the city centre from about 4.45pm.

Lord Mayor's Procession

Newmarket Road to St Martins Palace Plain (5pm)

Norwich's parade is a fusion between Caribbean carnival and English procession. More than 60 floats will be taking part this year. There will be the usual mix of the fantastically outlandish, gymnasts, dancers, big sounds, all winding their way through the city centre to the rhythm of the drums. Why not get into the fiesta fever by dressing up yourself? Bang the drum and get dancing!

Street Mayhem

Norwich City Centre (7pm-10pm)

This year the celebrations again feature a fantastic line-up of street performers to amaze, delight and entertain. Performers will include Dizzy O'Dare and the Cabinet of Curiosities, tightrope violinist Kwabana Lindsay, The Dukesbox, Talking Birds and Pongo the Flying Butress.


Norwich Castle (10.30pm)

Ooohhhh, ahhhh! The weather forecast is good, so this year we will hopefully be blessed with clear skies as the night is lit up. Spectacular, breathtaking, and set against the unmistakable backdrop of Norwich Castle, the firework display will light up the sky and be visible for miles around.


The Norwich '6 Bridge'

New Mills Yard to Cow Tower (9am-12pm)

As well as cyclists straining in the Gas Hill Gasp and runners pounding out the streets in the 5km Classic Road Race, this year athletes will also be taking to the water. The Norwich '6 Bridge' river swim will see swimmer plunge into the Wensum at New Mills Yard from 9am before racing — or more sedately floating — down to Cow Tower.

Great Norwich Duck Race

Lady Julian Bridge to Millennium Bridge Riverside (2pm)

The quacking good charity event returns this year, so make sure you've got a stake in a little plastic contender. Last year saw more than 2,500 toy ducks take to the water of the Wensum to raise money for the 1st Norwich Sea Scout Group. Each duck costs £2 and there are prizes for the first four across the finish line

Bishop of Norwich's Open Gardens

Bishop Gardens, Bishopgate (1pm-4.30pm)

Enjoy tea and cakes in the historic gardens that are opened to the public specially for the Lord Mayor's Celebrations. Admission £3 (accompanied children and wheelchair users free).

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Whiffler Theatre, Castle Gardens (3pm)

Chapterhouse Theatre returns to the Whiffler Theatre with one of Shakespeare's best-loved romantic comedies that offers the perfect summer journey through magical forests to meet lovers and playful fairies.