In towns and villages throughout the country there are summer produce shows, festivals, feast weeks, flower shows, fayres, jamborees and carnivals. In Cromer, we have our carnival, and in terms of scale, it is right up there.
Carnival week is always the third week in August, it has been going for 46 years and over the years, events have ranged from bed racing, raft racing, birdman competitions, sandcastle competitions, waiters’ races, tide fights, crab fishing, firework displays, fancy dress nights, parachute displays including the Red Devils, areal displays including the Red Arrows, and motorcycle displays including the White Helmets and many more. It is so big that the second week in August is now Cromer Carnival “Children’s Week” and has been for about 25 years.
With any fayre, festival or feast there is always a crescendo leading up to the main event ending in an explosion of fun, excitement and general merriment a pinnacle which everyone talks about in the preceding weeks. In Cromer the climax of the summer is the Carnival procession and anyone who has ever lived in the area will tell you that it is the highlight of the year. Floats created by local businesses, groups of friends, or whole families parade around the streets of Cromer, starting and ending on the Carnival field on Runton Road, where the party starts well before the procession and ends well after. Cromer Carnival is famed for its procession. It is the second biggest in the country – apparently there is one in Notting Hill that is quite big as well – and has floats of varying shapes and sizes, created on varying budgets and with varying results. Some of which are finished with weeks to go, some are still being finished minutes before they leave the field for the parade. Watching is great fun, taking part is exhilarating. On the day Cromer is simply buzzing from dawn till…. well not quite dawn the next day, but not far off.
So if you are in Cromer for carnival, you cannot fail to enjoy it, and cheer on The Grove FOH staff in the waiter’s race in from on the pier on Wednesday.