The historic market town of Kendal in the county of Cumbria has a long held tradition of celebrating its history, its culture and its people. On the second Friday of each September the town’s streets come to life with float processions, bands, dance troupes and other highlights for the annual Kendal Torchlight Carnival. This year’s festivities take place on Friday 12th September, a celebration hailed as being “by the people, for the people.”
From its inception back in 1970 the Kendal Torchlight Carnival has always been organised, promoted and realised by a committed team of unpaid volunteers. Their aim is to promote the town of Kendal for the benefit of tourism, business, industry and most importantly, its local residents. Those who reside in Kendal and its surrounding areas are strongly encouraged to participate in the Torchlight Carnival, whether through the entry of a unique float design, the provision of entertainment, volunteering for the event or simply turning up to enjoy the show. Each year the carnival takes on a new theme. Whilst 2013 focused on unity with ‘Kendal Pulling Together’, 2014 looks forward to ‘Visions of Kendal’s Future’.
Kendal town centre closes its roads from around 6:45pm on Friday 12th September. With the main procession starting at 7:30pm, crowds will be entertained by local dance troupes and bands in the run up to the main event. Starting on Lound Road, the Kendal Torchlight Carnival procession will make its way through the town’s streets wowing the expected 25,000 spectators with its weird and wonderful displays. Figures in outlandish costume, marching bands, procession floats and street entertainers will brighten up the night for around two hours before making their way to the finishing point of Kendal Leisure Centre. This year’s carnival hopes to build on the success of 2013, which saw some 1,200 participants, including over 60 procession floats. As a charitable event, last year’s efforts also raised over £4,000 for the Torchlight Team’s chosen charities.
For the second year running, the celebrations are set to carry on after the procession ends. On Saturday 13th the Torchlight Party and Trophy Presentation will take place in the Westmorland Shopping centre. Local live bands, food and drink and children’s activities will accompany a trophy presentation awarding volunteers and participants that showed outstanding commitment to the carnival. As with every year before, the 2014 Torchlight Carnival will celebrate Kendal in all its quaint English glory.