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Following the revival and huge success of Exeter Carnival in November 2022, InExeter the Business Improvement District for Exeter is proud to announce the date for 2023 Carnival as Saturday 25th November.

The announcement comes just as InExeter has achieved national recognition by winning the prestigious ‘Best Event’ category at the Association of Town & City Management Awards in Leicester. InExeter were shortlisted against formidable contenders Leeds BID and Bradford BID, going on to emerge victorious to win the accolade for their remarkable efforts that led to an outstanding revival of the carnival in 2022.

This incredible award recognises Exeter Carnival as the event we hoped it would be – an opportunity for the community to come together, a free event for all, a participatory experience, a celebration of place and people, an event by Exeter for Exeter” said Ann Hunter, InExeter BID Manager. “We are a small team and to bring back the carnival was an immense achievement which we are incredibly proud of – to be recognised for its success means the world.”

Last year’s carnival saw over 40 entries take part in Exeter Carnival which included over 600 people from Exeter, Devon and beyond. Entries have now opened for anyone to take part with entry details available on the website:

Marina O’Shea, Events Manager at InExeter, comments “The carnival last year left the crowds awestruck with the participation of carnival clubs from all over the southwest, along with the vibrant display of local community spirit highlighting the very best of Exeter. This year, we are excited to present an even greater showcase of local talent and community!”

Brand new for 2023, InExeter have partnered with St Sidwell’s Community Centre to commission local artists Burn the Curtain to build a giant puppet called ‘Sidwella’, which will take part in the parade. Inspired by the tale of Sidwella, the beloved patron saint of Exeter, the city draws inspiration from her compassionate act of feeding the impoverished at the gates. Burn the Curtain are bringing her to life on an epic scale to celebrate her story of kindness, compassion, and generosity as a symbol of the history of goodwill in the city as an example to all. As part of the project, they will be inviting members of the public to make a panel which will be included in Sidwella’s dress, inspired by the stained-glass window in St Sidwell’s Chapel.  The workshops will be a part of the St Sidwella Day event at St Sidwell’s Community Centre on Saturday 29th July between 12-3pm. The workshops will be suitable for all, children under 14 must be accompanied and fully supported by an adult. The project has been made possible through funding by InExeter, The Heritage Lottery and St Sidwell’s Centre to celebrate Exeter’s community and heritage.

The carnival’s return means there is an opportunity for charities to apply to become the charity of the carnival for 2023. Any South West based charity wishing to apply should give an outline of their charity of no more than 500 words with charity number and company registration number. The outline should give details of who the charity benefits in the local community. Applications can be made by email to [email protected] with the closing date to apply the 31st of August 2023. The charity chosen will be permitted to collect money via bucket collections on the day.

Young Lives vs. Cancer was the official charity of the Exeter Carnival in 2022. Katherine Sawyer said “Young Lives vs Cancer were honoured to be the chosen charity of the Exeter Carnival. The event gave us the opportunity to raise awareness of our work locally and we raised a fantastic £1176 on the night thanks to the generosity of the people of Exeter.

The Exeter Carnival event takes place to celebrate the official switching on of the Christmas lights. Traditionally the lights are switched on mid-November unofficially with the big event seeing them come on again as the carnival passes through.

In 2022, feedback indicated that businesses experienced greater benefits from the carnival compared to the traditional light switch-on event. According to an economic impact survey, the carnival had a significant impact on the city economy, contributing £1.3 million. Additionally, footfall increased by 27% compared to the previous year.

The 2022 carnival day was a hub of activity in the city” says Ann. “There were activities and events taking place in businesses all over the city for all to enjoy. Mark your calendars for Saturday 25th November to enjoy carnival in the city of Exeter.

Exeter Carnival was made possible by the member businesses of InExeter, whose funding allows incredible events to take place in the city. More details on Exeter Carnival will be released closer to the event.