Virus stops carnivals – but they will be back

Two of North Norfolk’s most enjoyed and anticipated festivals have been cancelled this year.

The Cromer Carnival draws crowds from far and wide for a week of fun and entertainment in August, and the Crab and Lobster Festival unites Sheringham and Cromer in friendly rivalry and fun in May.

But the organisers of both events have decided to cancel because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The art trail and grand auction which are part of the Crab and Lobster Festival are also cancelled, with organisers saying: “We would like to thank everyone for their support and commitment, however we think we can all agree that with the current worldwide situation our committee had little choice. As soon as the situation allows, we will let you know how we move forward for next year.”

Cromer Carnival chairman Tony Shipp said while the event was not until August, cancelling was the only choice to be made – meaning 2020 will be the first year without a carnival for 50 years.

“Planning the carnival is a 12 month operation and booking and signing contracts for the various top class acts and events is a large financial commitment which the committee would lose if they hung on in the hope that the carnival would go ahead in August, only to find that the public were still restricted in travelling and coming together in large crowds,” he said.

“Financial outlay before Cromer Carnival is around £20,000 and would be greater the nearer we get to August. If we leave cancelling acts and hired equipment, such as marquees and toilets, until the last minute, much of that money would be lost. Cancelling now mean losing the minimum amount rather than all of it.”

He said most of the money for the carnival was provided by local businesses, who were having a lean time themselves and would find it hard to lend more support.

“Cromer Carnival is in the privileged position of being trusted by the people of Cromer to spend, what is essentially public money, wisely,” said Tony. “We have to try and safeguard our future and that means cutting our financial losses and cancelling now.”

Organisers of both events say they are hoping to be able to return in 2021.

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