Carnival procession to go ahead in Leighton Buzzard this year, but park festivities are cancelled due to ongoing pandemic concerns

Carnival’s Picnic in the Park will also be moved from June to September

Monday, 29th March 2021, 11:44 am
Updated Monday, 29th March 2021, 11:46 am

The excitement of carnival WILL be coming to Leighton-Linslade later this year as Covid-19 restrictions are cautiously lifted in line with the Government's roadmap out of lockdown.

Although it has been deemed too soon to hold the usual carnival party in Parson's Close Recreation Ground because of the large crowds that would be anticipated, organisers have agreed that the procession can go ahead - and are appealing for the community to get behind it to make it as spectacular as possible.

Like countless other events, last year's Leighton-Linslade Carnival was axed due to the pandemic, but there was a virtual procession instead as children were asked to design a float on a lorry template which was be distributed across the town in booklets and leaflets. The artwork was then used to create an online procession on the carnival website and Facebook page.

The new route...

But this time, on Saturday, July 10 you can see the procession once again in the flesh - or even be part of it!

Marking the 60th modern carnival for the town, the procession is planned to follow a new route to visit many residential areas of the town. Starting in Mentmore Road, as usual, the vehicular procession will use Himley Green and Derwent Road through to Soulbury Road where it will join up with walking groups.

It will follow through the town centre, Clarence Road and Meadway to Appenine Way (by Beaudesert School) where the walkers will leave the procession. From there it will visit the Brooklands area, Billington Park, Sandhills and Roman Gate before finishing in Chartmoor Road. An application for the rolling road closure order has been submitted to the Highway Authority, and the committee awaits their confirmation.

Carnival chairman, Mark Freeman, said: "The theme for Carnival 2021 is 1962 Revisited, in tribute to the revival of carnival in 1962 by the late Peter Lymbery and the Leighton Buzzard Youth Club. There has been a carnival annually since then, with 2020 being online because of the pandemic, making 2021 the 60th modern carnival.

Leighton-Linslade Carnival 2021

"There will be five competitive sections to the procession – schools, children’s groups, open/commercial, walkers and private decorated vehicles. We would especially welcome classic vehicles of the early 1960s era. Entry is free of charge and entry forms are available on the carnival website. It is important that when trailers for floats are booked with S&J Pierce, or any other provider, an entry form is sent to the carnival too.

"We are looking forward to marking the 60th modern carnival with a special procession. If the people cannot come to carnival, we will take carnival to the people.

"However, we can organise a procession but if schools, organisations, businesses and individuals don’t take part it won’t be spectacular. Sometimes we see comments on social media that the carnival procession is smaller than it used to be – the solution to that is in your hands.

"It is planned to produce a 60th carnival souvenir programme which will delivered to homes across the town by SLBDistribution. This will feature the carnival courts over the 60 years, and the costs will be covered by our generous advertisers."

Mr Freeman confirmed the popular carnival event in Parsons Close Recreation Ground had, reluctantly, been cancelled. He said: "The timing of the event was very close to the possible lifting of Government Covid restrictions and the committee was concerned about managing large numbers of people in a safe way. Whilst it is a great disappointment to have to cancel the carnival event in the park again this year, we are delighted that carnival’s Picnic in the Park for under 5s will be going ahead in September."

Carnival’s Picnic in the Park had been scheduled for June 23. It will now take place on Wednesday, September 15. Details of the event and stall booking forms will be on the newly relaunched carnival website.

Visit the carnival website at