Jubilant June continued in Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday with carnival floats, showground fun and a river flotilla.
The mayor, Cllr Dave Anderson, who led the parade of community groups through the town from South Mill Arts to Sworder’s Field, thanked all those who took part in the event.
He said the royal-themed carnival, which is organised and financed by the town council, was the perfect follow-up to Platinum Jubilee celebrations at the start of the month.
“Like at Bish Bash [the Bishop’s Stortford music festival], it was just great seeing lots of people out and having a good time.”
Love Stortford, organised by the town’s churches, kicked off a week of kindness with a float in the carnival. Professional Elvis impersonator Miguel Olivares, a member of the New Life Church based at The Bishop’s Stortford High School, serenaded the crowds while volunteers handed out free sweets.
The town council organised a series of rolling roadblocks and restrictions for drivers to ensure safe passage for the parade participants.
One of the Love Stortford organisers, John Barfoot, said: “The carnival was a blast! Elvis had the crowds singing All You Need is Love, 3,000 tubes of Love Hearts were handed out (next time we’ll need 5,000) and there was a fantastic party atmosphere.
“Well done, Miguel Olivares, our very own Elvis, well done to all the marchers and well done to the carnival organisers for a great procession.”
After the floats reached The Causeway, Love Stortford volunteers hit the streets to give away plants, confectionery and craft kits while their colleagues served free tea and coffee at Sworder’s Field. John said: “What a day!”
One grateful grandad told the Indie: “Although there was a downpour just as the carnival began to go through the town, I was impressed that everyone stayed where they were to support the participants.
“We were especially grateful to the Love Stortford people, who handed out sweets and offered free tea and coffee on Sworder’s Field. They were a godsend.”
The carnival parade, led by London Fanfare Trumpets, also included representatives of the town's three emergency services: Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Hertfordshire Constabulary and East of England Ambulance Service.
There were also businesses such as Barons Stansted BMW, Everyone Active Grange Paddocks, The Pizza Guys and the Little Arts Workshop.
Silver Leys Scouts, Girl Guides from across the town and Army cadets represented the younger generation along with pupils from St Michael’s C of E Primary School.
They were joined by performers from Apton Dance Studio, Hip Hop Pop, Stortford Cheerleaders and Forte Dance & Performing Arts Studio.
Other community groups on parade included Bishop’s Stortford Food Bank, Hertfordshire Mind Network, Bishop’s Stortford Rugby Football Club, the Royal British Legion Bishop’s Stortford branch, Bishop’s Stortford Town Council, Grove Cottage and St Elizabeth’s Centre Perry Green.
For car fans, there were vintage and classic vehicles in the cavalcade.
Bishop’s Stortford BID (Business Improvement District) helped to judge the floats. The winners were Girl Guides Bishop’s Stortford, Grove Cottage and St Elizabeth’s Centre.
At the bandstand, there was entertainment from The Belly Belles dancers, Woodwind of Stortford, St Michael’s C of E Primary School, the town’s branch of the Pauline Quirke Academy, Bishop’s Stortford Ukulele Society and Hanako Ward.
There was also a carnival cruise flotilla on the River Stort where the mayor asked visitors to help him judge the best-decorated boat.
Charities and community groups raised much-needed funds with dozens of stalls featuring competitions and challenges.
Isabel Hospice co-ordinator Renee Friend said: “The weather was not its best at the carnival but people still attended and enjoyed the parade and fun day.
“The team of Isabel Hospice volunteers ran an adults’ bottle tombola and a children’s sunflower tombola, both were very popular.
“Thanks to the generosity of visitors, the wonderful sum of £460 was raised, which could cover the cost of a two-hour home visit to 10 patients in our town by an Isabel community clinical nurse specialist in this our 40th anniversary year. We are extremely grateful for the fantastic support from our local communities.”