Excitement builds at the return of Charivari to Folkestone streets
THE costumes are ready, the drumsticks poised, the parade route booked – Charivari returns this weekend with more participants than ever before.
Arts company Strange Cargo's annual carnival procession, now in its 16th year, will fill Folkestone with colour and music this afternoon from 2pm.
And although it has been moved forward from its usual date to avoid clashing with the Olympics, a Games theme will feature as one of the parade sections, alongside the Diamond Jubilee and others including music and the seaside.
Strange Cargo artistic director Brigitte Orasinski said: "We've had such an amazing take-up this year, it's really exciting.
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"We've got 15 primary schools involved and, for the first time, a group of children coming over from Boulogne to take part, which is fabulous.
"At a time when you'd think the recession has bitten everyone, the sponsors have been really generous and people really seem to want to come out and have fun."
Participants will gather on The Stade on Saturday, leaving at about 2pm. The procession will make its way up the Old High Street, through the town centre and along West Terrace to The Leas. Drumming bands Batala, Beetroots, Section 5 and the Whitstable Samba Band will accompany the parade, then each will also play on the Leas Bandstand, followed by the Trophy Husbands from 6pm.
Ms Orasinski said: "It's a spectacular day, filled with costumes and music, making the streets of Folkestone come alive.
"Charivari's a tradition now but it involves different people every year – 9,000 individuals have taken part over the years and some of those who paraded as children are involved now as artists or teachers so it's the next generation.
"It's got a real identity which brings people into the town from across the district. There's such energy to it and it's so important to people. It's lovely to be able to give Charivari to Folkestone."
For more information, call 01303 244533 or visit www.strangecargo.org.uk
This year's Charivari has been sponsored by the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, Councillor Roland Tolputt, Shepway District, Folkestone Town and Kent County councils, Channel Rotary Club of Folkestone and the Arts Council England – South East.