Hot on the heels of the Jubilee Bank Holiday celebrations of Her Majesty The Queen’s glorious 70-year reign, St Annes’ new Carnival Queen 12-year-old Kelsey Cottam-Bamford, will take office after being lined up for the role since 2020.
That was the year which marked exactly 100 years since the start of the Carnival, initially as the St Annes Hospital Fete, and it has since raised money galore for a host of good causes, initially St Annes Hospital, which closed more than 30 years ago now, and in later years a wide variety of charities.
The most recent Carnival held, in 2019, launched a fund-raising year which generated £5,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care, and while that money has already been handed over to the charity, an official presentation of the funds will be the last act at the crowning ceremony at 1.15pm on Saturday, June 4 of still-reigning Carnival Queen Georgia Roberts who has held the role for the last three years, before Kelsey takes over.
Ahead of that, the traditional Carnival procession will take to the streets of St Annes from 10.30am, covering the route from Ashton Gardens through The Square to Church Road and back, before fun, games and music in Ashton Gardens through Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday.
The event has been brought forward to the Jubilee weekend from its usual July slot in the calendar to add to the delights of what promises to be a spectacular few days for St Annes, and Carnival committee chairman Angela Jacques says everyone is looking forward to it immensely.
"It really will be such a relief for the event to finally happen after the pandemic caused us to call it off for the last two years,” said Angela.
"We’re very proud of the Carnival’s history and really want to make the celebration of its centenary a memorable one.
"The Town Council has celebrations of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee planned for the Thursday and Friday bank holidays and we thought it would be good for this very special year for the Carnival to immediately follow that to make it a real long weekend to remember.
"It’s wonderful for the town to be able to share in and celebrate what is an historic time. Her Majesty’s 70 years reign is very special indeed and I’m sure the celebrations will live long in the memory.”
As was the case with the 90th anniversary celebrations of St Annes Carnival, the committee has invited several former Carnival Queens along to the event and its event programme this year is available free of charge as a gesture to mark the special occasion.
In many ways, the switch to 2022 of the centenary celebrations, forced by the Covid pandemic, is quite appropriate. The first Carnival, as the Hospital fete, was held in 1920 to raise money for a cottage hospital for the town in memory of those killed in action in the First World War.
A total of £1,300 was raised and the hospital opened in St Annes Road East two years later.