Brazilian carnival colour came to Desborough.
Every year the town of Desborough descends into a colourful and veritable feast of wonderful character, which could only be produced by a small town creating a spectacle.
This means only one thing:
It’s carnival day.
Carnival day is a tradition dating back to the 1920s, in those days under the guise of the Hospital Fete.
As carnival day evolved over the years, the floats were introduced.
Generations of mothers and fathers watched and cheered as their sons and daughters travelled on floats, of grand designs and imaginative themes.
Organisations of all shapes and sizes grafted for hours upon end to ensure their float was better than the next, to then watch months down the line as their hard work was paraded around the town at snail’s pace, ensuring they had all the time in the world to appreciate their handiwork.
It was a time when the whole family could get together to participate.
The 2014 carnival is now upon us.
I arrived on the high street about 10 minutes before the proceedings were due to begin at about 2pm on Saturday.
The street was practically deserted, the dark, grey skies were emptying their heavy loads on to the streets.
I sat down on to the bench, under the trees, sheltering from the rain, which was fortunately now beginning to dissipate.
I observed as a man walked casually down the middle of the road, with at least 30 colourful balloons on strings which were blowing happily in the breeze.
Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters were now beginning to flood into the streets, the crowd that did not exist only minutes ago was now a full battalion of Desbororians, lining up along the streets as if ready for battle.
Distant echoes of thunder were mixed with the banging of drums and the tingling of bells, alerting the town to the oncoming spectacle.
“They’re coming, listen!” One girl observed, with a keen ear.
The procession began with this year’s carnival queen Sadie Scott, waving to her loyal followers.
The St Mary’s Hinckley Marching Band followed along with a well-rehearsed drill of drum smashes and loud clacks.
Vikings march along the street with spears and axes, muttering and grumbling at the onlookers with fearsome looks on their bearded faces.
Minnie and Mickey Mouse wave at the kids in the crowd, which produces a good few delighted squeals.
In the year of a Brazilian world cup, the participants were trying their hardest to transform Desborough high street into Copcabana beach, with yellow and green-clad cheerleaders, bouncing down the street to the exotic music.
Men, women and children bound gleefully alongside the floats, jangling buckets, attempting to collect change, to which I and many others oblige.
The town has come out in full force to watch this bizarre, gleeful, exuberant event.
The people have braved the elements, with umbrellas at the ready in preparation for inevitable flow of precipitation that appears is on the way again.
People hang out of their flat windows above the shops and businesses to get a good bird’s eye view of proceedings, with good deal more protection from the rain.
The pick of the creative, colourful floats has to be the Yogi Bear float which belonged to the 2nd Scouts Group.
The big Yogi Bear looked as if he’d stolen a few picnic baskets.
The pageantry and the music of the Jelly Stone float create a buzz among the onlookers, causing a frenzy of conversation, cheers and laughter.
The wonder at the float seemed to travel down the street like some Mexican Wave of intrigued curiosity.
Overall though there was such an eclectic mixture of walking and decorated floats.
Despite the slow speeds of the flamboyant spectacle, it seems over in a flash.
As the crowd begins to disband, I follow suit and head down towards the recreation ground.
The rec on carnival day is where the real spice of the day is displayed.
People from all generations, backgrounds and ages rub shoulders so comfortably, as they never would on a normal day.
As soon as you enter the bustling park, the most noticeable thing is the wobbling, bubbling bouncy castles, which appears like a giant jelly against the sky line.
At first glance across the field it appeared there was two giant see-through hamster balls, known as Zorb Balls.
Only they did not contain rodents but human beings. They bounced around comically, bashing into each other and throwing the humans inside around like rag dolls.
The sound system barely takes the strain of the blaring music, the voice on the PA system proudly announces that the event is “expected to collect over £3,000 for charity.”
I walk along the surprisingly hard ground, considering the rain, I was expecting to be walking around in a swampy marsh.
I browse the stalls, the bric-a-brac and hook-a-duck are attracting the lion share of the attention.
Most of the stalls managed to bring in plenty of commerce in the end.
The world cup game in which participants choose a country, and spins the wheel in the hope that the wheel lands on their chosen country was unsurprisingly receiving very little attention, given the country’s miserable showing this year.
Quad bikes, archery, the model rail way and the Viking Village were the pick of this year’s attractions.
The waft of frying burgers and hotdogs is prominent in the air, the smell seems as though it is attracting people involuntarily towards the van.
Myself included, I might add.
The marching band were continuing with their well-rehearsed ritual, which was attracting riotous applause and cheers from the crowds looking into the arena.
A short walk from the centre is the Viking Village, the men and women dressed in costume were certainly taking their roles very seriously, walking too close drew snarls of displeasure from these marauding terrors.
The Vikings gave a display of clothing for the different social classes in the arena later on.
It was the battle however, which delighted the crowds, displaying a range of different weapons from their considerable arsenal.
The event may have overshadowed at times by the ever present threat of rain, but the amount of people that had dismissed this and turned out to watch and participate was still impressive.
So then it appears then that nothing much has changed from the events humble beginnings.
In a world full of violence and economic issues, it is good to see that small town pride and community togetherness is something that is still present in our everyday lives and long may it continue.
Until next year then.