The Woodbridge Carnival is on 4th July this year at the new location, The Abbey Playing fields off Cumberland Street. A later start this year has the procession at 4pm from Woodbridge School in Burkitt Road down New Street, along the Thoroughfare and up Cumberland Street to the Abbey Fields where they will be welcomed by the upbeat music of local band Fete Accomplis – one of whom has opened Glastonbury every year since 1989.

Carnival town centre

The procession will be led by a reincarnation of Woodbridge’s historical benefactor, Thomas Seckford, who is celebrating his 500th birthday this year, and in whose honour this year’s carnival takes place. The Carnival Queen of haart float will follow with this year’s entrants, to be judged by ‘Thomas Seckford’ in the main ring. The winner will win £500 for their chosen charity or community group, care of Woodbridge haart Estate Agents.

In the main arena there is a full programme including children’s races, an appearance by Millie the Tide Mill Mouse and displays by Macmillan Martial Arts and The Angel Theatre School amongst others. New for this year is the Pie Eating Contest sponsored by Woodbridge Greengrocers – no hands allowed.

Running race

Outside of the main arena there will be a range of stalls to browse as well as numerous interactive activities to keep youngsters entertained throughout the afternoon: Premier Sport is providing archery & dance activities, Roberta Stock is bringing trampolines, Art Safari is running a ‘Make your own’ juggling balls activity, Easton Pre School are organising biscuit decorating and bracelet making, Creation Station is running carnival themed arts and crafts activities, Mr Bean Entertainments is doing balloon modelling and Steff and Nonsense is back with fantastic face painting and giant bubbles.

For the older carnival goers there’s live music from 7.30pm organised by Peter Hepworth’s Blue Bus Tour and the Bespoke Events Bar to keep people in the party mood until the fabulous fifteen minute fireworks display at 10pm, paid for by Choose Woodbridge.

There will be plenty of food to sustain carnival goers into the evening including; Smoking Joes BBQ pulled pork, Field, Feather & Fur’s Paella, Roberta Stock’s burgers, Roberto’s Ices, Loaded Catering’s Jacket potatoes, Tikka Tonic’s curries, Wood fired pizzas and Cafe2U’s coffees, milkshakes and cakes.

This year the carnival is starting later as it’s also ‘Independents Day’ a day where people are encouraged to support the local independent businesses that form such a core part of Woodbridge’s charm. The later start gives visitors the chance to browse the shops and have lunch in town before gathering for the Carnival procession at 4pm. There is also free car parking at Suffolk Coastal District Council offices on Melton Hill care of Choose Woodbridge.

Steff & Nonsense (facepainter)

Emily Pullinger at Woodbridge haart estate agents, said: “We are so happy that the Carnival is coming back to Woodbridge and we’re keen to take an active role again this year. Through the Queen of haart initiative we’re helping to add to the carnival and provide a longer term benefit to a deserving cause through the winner’s prize of £500. The mix of community entertainment and charitable giving really appeals to us and we really hope that many local clubs and charities will embrace the fun and put forward their contenders for the Carnival Queen of haart!”

Chris Harrold, Chairman of Choose Woodbridge – the group organising the Carnival, added: “The Carnival has grown and grown since we brought it back in 2013. We’ve developed the event to cater for all ages and this year we’re very excited to have added a firework display to the agenda. The number of groups and business involved looks to grow again this year and the link with Thomas Seckford’s anniversary and the supportive Seckford Foundation has been a welcome addition. We’re working closely with the superb volunteers at the Rotary Club of Woodbridge to make this a safe and well organised event.”

Millie the Tide Mill Mouse added: “It’s great to see the organisers have added so many more activities for people of all ages to have a go on. I’m looking forward to having a go on the archery with Premier Sport and making my own juggling balls with Art Safari before having a boogie to the live music provided by the Blue Bus Tour. I can’t wait. How many sleeps to go??”