NORTHWICH Carnival is alive and kicking again as crowds turned out in the sunshine at the weekend to support the town’s traditional event.

Keira McTasnay was crowned the new Northwich Carnival Queen on Saturday, marking a miraculous turnaround in fortunes for the carnival.

Organiser Barbara Turner first entered the retinue in 1963 – back in the event’s heyday when The Beatles were crowning the Northwich Carnival Queen and thousands lined the streets for the parade.

And after more than 40 years of working on the committee, last year became a low point for Barbara and the carnival as volunteer numbers dwindled to the point where it seemed the event could not continue.

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But a plea for help to keep the tradition going saw a host of new faces come forward and after a hugely successful weekend, Barbara has spoken of her gratitude to everyone who came together and helped save the Northwich Carnival.

“We were so disheartened last year,” Barbara said. “We had a small retinue and dwindling numbers on the committee and in the winter we were closing up. But this year was such a big step back in the right direction. The weather was good and the atmosphere was great.

“We’ve had some very hard-working volunteers. A lot of these people who gave up their time to help out have never even been to the carnival before and they really pulled out all the stops. It’s so nice to keep the tradition alive.

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“I’m very grateful to all these new people that have come along. They’ve all got fresh ideas and we want to let them have a go.”

The weekend featured the traditional parade through the town, starting from Howdens car park in Old Warrington Road at 1pm and finishing at Verdin Park, where the crowning took place. Revellers also enjoyed the fun fair throughout the weekend, and activities such as the tug-of-war and pony rides.

One the Sunday, the car boot sale and dog show took place on Verdin Park.

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One new addition this year, however, was the live music, which took place from 6pm and included the popular John Collins band.

“We’ve never done that before and it was really well-received so that’s definitely something we’d do again and I hope it can go from strength to strength,” Barbara said.

“We realise times are changing and all the new people who have joined the committee have some fresh ideas that we will be bringing in. But looking back to the winter when it was really looking like there wasn’t much hope for the carnival, it’s great that we’ve managed to turn it around and keep the tradition going.”