Whitstable Carnival Association is pleased to announce that the town’s 126th anniversary carnival will provisionally take place, as it traditionally does, on the first Saturday in August 2023, which this year is August 5th.
Assemble along Pier Avenue and Northwood Road from 1pm. The procession moves off at 5.30, travelling along Tankerton Road, Tower Parade, Harbour Street, High Street, Oxford Street and Canterbury Road to Saddleton Road, where we will disperse. This usually takes around two hours. During this time there will be road closures on all adjoining roads.
If you need to travel to Whitstable at this time, please be patient, choose another route, travel early or delay your journey till its over.
The purpose of Carnival is to bring the community together and to raise funds for various local charities. Carnival welcomes everyone and makes no distinctions based on class or race or age or sex. All you need to take part is a sense of fun. Carnival is play. It is frivolity. It is fantasy. It is a joyous expression of who we are as a community. It is an opportunity to show your wares, whether as a business or a charity or as a community organisation. It is about showing off. Show us who you are. Tell us what you are proud of. Make yourselves known. Be as bold as you like. Be as silly as you like. Be funny. Be friendly. Be kind. Be generous. Be a part of your community.
The First Whitstable Carnival took place in 1897, but Carnival itself is much older than that. The word is from the Latin “carne levare” meaning “leaving meat”. Traditionally in the Middle Ages it took place around shrovetide, when the winter stores were used up in one final blow-out feast before the rigours of Lent. Later Carnivals adopted the format but altered the time. Our Whitstable Carnival is a more modest affair, although, looking at old photos – such as those in the Douglas West collection, currently held in the museum – you can see that people did whatever they could to make it as fun and as exciting as possible. So far it has survived two world wars and a pandemic.
We hope that it will continue for many more years to come. Our thanks go out to the two Carols, Sims and Simmonds, and to all the other members of the previous Carnival Association, who kept the tradition going through the years. In February 2019 they retired en masse. After that a new bunch of enthusiasts took over. The 2019 Carnival was our first attempt at running such an event, and by all accounts the town approved of our efforts.
"Douglas West moved to Whitstable with his father Stephen in 1914. Douglas took over the Whitstable photographers (now the Black Dog) in 1946 after serving as a photographer in WW2. Douglas West collected many images of Whitstable as early as 1857 and donated all his non-family photographs to Whitstable Museum in 1997.
"This film of Whitstable Carnival was shot on Std 8 film by Jumbo (George) Gisby, a keen amateur filmmaker, who was a taxi driver in Whitstable. Text by CJ Stone. Thanks to James Light of James Light TV for putting this together: http://jameslight.tv/"
"The Museum holds 1500 photographs in the Douglas West Collection and the catalogues may be viewed by the public when the museum is open and copies purchased to aid museum funds."