The annual Southend Carnival has become a fantastic community project that each year helps to increase the sustainability of Southend’s voluntary and charity sectors. The carnival offers a wide range of events and activities for men, women and children and is seldom missed by those it is known to. Amazingly, dedicated volunteers offer up hundreds of hours of their personal time to raise both funds and awareness for the participating charities, with over £20,000 typically raised each year!
2019 Carnival info
When is the Southend Carnival this year?
This year’s carnival is on Saturday 17 August. The procession starts at 6:45pm from Southchurch Park. It will sashay along the seafont City Beach at 19.30 pm, finishing up on the seafront at Shorefield Road at around 9 pm.
How to get to the Southend Carnival
Thankfully the Carnival itself is easily accessible from the c2c line, with events being no further than a 10-15 minute walk from Southend Central Station. Depending on other events taking place there may also be easy access from other stations such as Westcliff and Leigh-on-Sea.
Southend Carnival – The Main Event
Over the course of the Southend Carnival, there are plenty of great events that have a more specific focus. However the arguably top-billed and most eagerly anticipated event overall is the Southend Carnival Procession.
The Procession is now one of the largest in the UK and attracts around 25,000 people to the Southend seafront with over 3,000 participants, all flocking for a great time.
With over 60 colourfully decorated floats, exciting dance acts, live bands and larger than life costumes, it’s no wonder why it draws such crowds. The bright lights and flag waving, paired with the live music flowing through the air, create a thriving atmosphere that’s dangerously contagious. So don’t miss out on your chance to experience why this event has been going strong for over 100 years, it’s a great time guaranteed.
Other Events at the Carnival
An excellent aspect to the Southend Carnival Events is the chance for charities, big and small, to come along and raise funds for their causes.
Some of the more notable events and charities that have proved extremely popular of the recent years include the Armed forces Day, Remembrance Day, Battle of Britain, Beer Festival, Dog Show and Children’s Events.
There are always new events and charities popping up each year, with plenty returning again too. But no matter who is and isn’t there, it truly is a fantastic way for people to show their support for local causes whilst enjoying themselves too.
The history of Southend Carnival
The first carnival was way back in 1906 as a one day event and was part of an annual regatta to raise funds for the Southend Victoria Cottage Hospital. Helping the local hospitals was its main focus for several years after that, however its festival vibes first started coming through in the 1930s. Some of the most popular events back in those days were things like ‘Beautiful Toddlers Competition’, ‘Beautiful Legs Parade’ and a ‘Fancy Dress Parade’ – we’re happy to see the events have moved on somewhat since then!
In the 40s the Carnival focused heavily on helping all British Service men and women during the war, and come the 50s there came the Carnival Estate; which provided accommodation for vulnerable older people in the area.
By the turn of the new millennium the Carnival had brought in an approximate £3 million of business to the local area and voluntary community. The Southend Carnival is now the biggest community event in Southend and South East Essex and continues its success year on year.
Since 2017, the Southend Carnival has been a proud partner of and is greatly supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.