Totally Alive at the Arbury Carnival

The king of rock and roll led a lively procession through the streets of north Cambridge for the Arbury Carnival.

Thousands lapped up the feel-good atmosphere at the 35th annual event on Saturday as it took over the green next to the community centre.

Elvis took a leading role at the Kings and Queens-themed event, which saw children give themselves a regal makeover as they donned fancy dress.

Performances from dancers and bands were staged at the arena while stalls represented all corners and creeds of the Arbury community and a fun fair appealed to thrill-seekers.

Alan Soer, chairman of the carnival committee, said a “blitz mentality” had taken over, meaning people were determined to enjoy the event despite the weather threatening to rain on their parade.

He said: “It’s brought the whole community out. We’ve got Asian and Afro-Caribbean stalls and the Scouts and Guides are here. There’s an eclectic mix and this is everything that is good about a community.

“It’s all run by local volunteers for the local people. This is pure gold.”

Mr Soer added: “The carnival started as a celebration of the Silver Jubilee, it’s continued as a community event ever since and now it’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee so we thought we’d go for the Kings and Queens theme.”

Performers included Chesterton Ballet School, Stardust Dance, Fruity Clave Samba Band and Geoff Bailey Dancers, who put on longer sets after headliners The Undercovers had to pull out because their guitarist injured his finger in a nail gun accident.

Up to 5,000 people turned up the event, which kicked off with a carnival procession from Armitage Way to the green.

One of the new attractions this year was a stall that gave people the chance to get up close and personal with reptiles and creepy crawlies including chameleons, snakes, scorpions and tarantulas.

Daniel Bunting, of Totally Alive!, based in Thriplow, said one of the most popular animals was the panther chameleon, which changes colour depending on the person holding it.

He said: “There were thousands of people here. A lot of them were scared at first, but got over their fears and wanted to hold everything.”