Cromer carnival continues to charm
Richard BatsonPirates ruled the waves as Cromer carnival sailed through the town streets on Wednesday night.At least three floats dressed up as cutlass-waving buccaneers, and picked up prizes, but the crews, along with scores more fancy dress creations, were out to provide a fun-packed parade to treasure.Richard Batson
Pirates ruled the waves as Cromer carnival sailed through the town streets on Wednesday night.
At least three floats dressed up as cutlass-waving buccaneers, and picked up prizes, but the crews, along with scores more fancy dress creations, were out to provide a fun-packed parade to treasure.
Weird and wonderful creations ranged from aliens, Vikings and nurses to cute Wind in the Willows creatures, Romans and a group of galloping grandmas doing a dance routine, armed with walking sticks.
A little light rain fell during the parade, creating a rainbow - appropriately as there were also Wizard of Oz characters among the 80 floats, bands and groups snaking along the route for more than an hour.
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Carnival chairman Tony Shipp said the parade had gone well, with an 'exceptional standard' of floats, which had resulted from some hard work.
Crowds along the parade route were 'about average' but the numbers at the carnival ground were among the highest ever, with 'people turning out to enjoy themselves' after some changeable weather earlier in the week.
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Forecast afternoon rain held off, and at noon the Red Arrows swooped over the packed town drawing smoke trail patterns on a blue sky canvass.
The nine-strong team, including its first ever woman pilot Flt Lt Kirsty Moore, danced over the clifftops and pier in a series of graceful routines, flying just feet apart.
They included tracing a giant heart which they dedicated to Julie Davies, widow of former lifeboat coxswain Richard who died earlier this year.
The precision pilots then cranked up the speed and G-force to get the crowds 'oohing' with a series of high speed passes.
Four members of the Flying Tigers freefall parachute team, whose display the previous day was called off due to low cloud and high winds, braved wind speeds averaging 18 to 19 knots, just below their 20-knot safety limit, to wow watchers with a freefall drop from 3,500ft on to the carnival field.
Team commentator Pte Alex Mining said the blustery conditions were made: 'even harder because there's a big cliff next door,' but the town's inshore lifeboat was nearby at sea as usual during the annual display, just in case of over-shoots.
Former mayor Hilary Thompson and ex chamber of trade president Sue Brown also used the occasion to hand over �1,440 raised for the carnival by their charity parachute jumps with the Tigers back in May, having met them at previous carnivals and taken up their offer to leap from 13,000ft.
Watching both aerial displays were the Hough family from Overstrand: mum and dad Nicola and Andrew, plus three children and Mrs Hough's parents who had made a near 200-mile trip specially from West Yorkshire.
Last year the Houghs watched the Red Arrows from home but were thrilled at their grandstand view on Wednesday and said the professional commentary had been an added bonus.
'It's definitely a good family day out - fantastic displays and so much going on,' said Mrs Hough. The family were looking forward to watching son James, eight, dressed as a Viking in the evening parade as part of his Cub pack's entry.
Visiting from her home in Plumtree, Nottinghamshire, was Ann Ellis, who booked a week off work to stay in West Runton so that she could spend a second year enjoying Cromer Carnival.
'My daughter's come from London to be here too, on my recommendation,' said Mrs Ellis. 'It's a fabulous event - although I wish it was a bit warmer today! There's so much to see and so much effort has gone into it.'