Exciting plans for Norwich's Lord Mayor's celebrations

Jon WelchExciting plans for this year's Lord Mayor's Celebration in Norwich were unveiled today, with a pledge to be more family-friendly by changing start times for some of the main events.Jon Welch

Exciting plans for this year's Lord Mayor's Celebration in Norwich were unveiled today, with a pledge to be more family-friendly by changing start times for some of the main events.

The city's streets will come alive over the four-day celebration, which will bring together community groups, schools and international dance troupes.

Carnival fever is promised with a spectacular New Orleans-style Fridi Gras parade and a colourful street procession involving dozens of local groups.

The street procession is on Saturday, July 10 and will feature more than 60 floats, along with gymnasts, dancers, drummers and costumes.

It will set off at the earlier time of 5pm and finish at 7pm.

Preceding it from 4.45pm will be the Lord Mayor's 5km Classic Road Race through the city centre. First staged in 1996, it attracts the best quality field for an event of its kind in the country.

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Comedians, rock bands, orchestras and street acts will also be performing from Thursday, July 8 to Sunday, July 11.

Some proposed changes to the event were put to carnival-goers in a survey on the city council's website last autumn, resulting in some new times.

Chapelfield Music Festival will be staged on Saturday only from 11am to 10pm, meaning the fireworks display from Norwich Castle will be the finale of Saturday's celebrations.

The funfair will operate in Chapelfield from 11am to 10pm on Saturday and 1pm to 7pm on Sunday. There will be a designated bar area in Chapelfield Gardens, but no alcohol can be brought into the park.

Animation films made by talented local people and groups will be shown on the Norwich Big Screen while up-and-coming bands and artists can be seen in the BBC Music Video Festival at Fusion in The Forum.

Brand new attractions for 2010 include the Caterpillar Crawl in aid of the Big C and the Great Norwich Duck Race at Riverside.

Families with younger children will find plenty to keep them busy, with activities ranging from a children's corner at St George's Plain to face-painting, big bubbles and Punch & Judy and other fun activities in Chapelfield Gardens, while the under-18s can head to the SNAP disco at Open.

Those who want to party into the small hours can check out the Mardi Gras Party Night at Squares, Monsters' Ball at The Waterfront or Somewhere Carnival at Henry's.

Helen Selleck, events and culture manager, says: 'Norwich has so much going on and so much energy and the Lord Mayor's Celebration is one of the highlights in its social calendar.

'It is not just for families - there really is something for everyone - and we hope even more people will come out and enjoy it this year as a result of the changes we have made.'

All the money raised at this year's procession will go to the Rotary House for the Deaf Society, this year's civic charity chosen by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Tom Dylan, and the Sheriff, Derek James.

City College Norwich is offering the use of its student car park for �3 per vehicle from midday to 11.30pm on the Saturday, with all proceeds being donated to the charity.

Norwich is currently in the running to be named UK Capital of Culture 2013, and has reached the shortlist of four with Birmingham, Sheffield and Derry/Londonderry. A decision is due next month.

To check out the full events programme, visit www.norwich.gov.uk and click on the events section and then Lord Mayor's Celebration, or visit the Norwich City Council events page on Facebook. All events are free except where ticketed information is provided and line-ups are subject to change.

Norwich City Council is advising people attending the event to come prepared the weather by bringing sun hats, sun cream, waterproof coats and plenty of water. Glass bottles or alcohol are not allowed at any of the events. People are being advised to travel by Park & Ride, train, bus, bicycle or walk.

An information line is available on 01603 212626 and is staffed from Sunday, July 4 to Tuesday, July 6. Recorded information is available at other times.

On Saturday, July 11, temporary bus stops will be located on Queens Road from 3.30pm to 7pm for all on-street service departures affected by the road closures. From 7pm, all evening services will depart from Norwich Bus Station. The normal Saturday bus timetable will be in operation throughout the event. All Park & Ride sites will open until 8.30pm, with late services to and from the city and Thickthorn, Postwick & Airport sites running until 11pm.

Are you organising a major event in the city? Contact reporter Jon Welch on 01603 772476 or email jon.welch@archant.co.uk