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Harrogate International Festivals’ give drab walkway a colourful continental makeover

The team from Harrogate International Festivals have been “stepping up” their preparations for the biggest free party the town has ever seen by giving a drab walkway a colourful continental makeover.  

Being held in the Valley Gardens on Saturday, organisers of Carnival are confident it will give both Notting Hill and Leeds West Indian carnivals a run for their money in terms of colourful costumes, live entertainment and fantastic food.

The day-long “world party in the park” is being brought to life through Harrogate Borough Council, and is a unique day for the town as part of a cultural programme to herald the arrival of September’s UCI Road World Cycling Championships, when “Harrogate Welcomes The World”.

This unrivalled spectacular commences with an opening parade bringing an explosion of colour and sound to the streets of the spa town as it announces it is well and truly ready to “welcome the world”!

Featuring street theatre, dancing, food, music, interactive workshops and fun by the float load, Carnival will feature street theatre, dancing, food, music, interactive workshops and float-loads of fun.

Almost 250 artists – and seven top chefs – will be performing both in the town and the Valley Gardens from 10.30am until 5.30pm for the tens-of-thousands of visitors the family free-day is predicted to attract.

And to help Harrogate get in the party spirit, Harrogate International Festivals staff and volunteers have added a splash of colour to concrete steps opposite the Convention Centre.

Drawing inspiration from cities around the world, the party spent two hours clearing weeds and litter from the walkway leading from Back Cheltenham Mount to Kings Road, before spending another two hours painting its 19 steps with vibrant colours.

Harrogate International Festivals’ chief executive Sharon Canavar said: “In two months’ time Harrogate will welcome the world when its hosts the cycling equivalent to football’s world cup.

“Carnival marks the start of the countdown to when Harrogate will become the epicentre of world cycling, bringing with it tens-of-thousands of people watching and competing in the nine-day tournament.

“Additionally, the event will attract an estimated worldwide TV audience of in excess of 150 million with all eyes fixed on our wonderful town.

“And because carnivals are full of colour and vibrancy, we thought this walkway could do with a little pre-carnival makeover. It has given the area a real lift, it’s got people talking, smiling and taking photographs.

“And if we can achieve that with a few tins of environmentally-friendly spray paint, imagine what impact Carnival will have? It’s going to be a brilliant day and it’s our chance to shout loud that we are ready to ‘welcome the world’ and all are well and truly welcome?”

Further details about Carnival, including performers and performance times, will be available from the Harrogate International Festivals website at


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