THE TOWN'S much loved Caribbean Carnival will go ahead in May after a two year absence.

In 2015 and 2016 the Reading event was cancelled due to funding problems, with a stripped back version taking to the streets in 2014.

Having been run by the town's Caribbean community since 1977 and previously attracting around 10,000 people, appetite has never diminished for the festival of colour, food and island rhythms.

Fortunately, a Big Lottery Grant means the party will go ahead later this year.

Sonia Walker, chairperson of the Reading Caribbean Cultural Group (RCCG), said: "This years Carnival aims to give the community a taste of what once was, with a procession of costumed participants and the sounds of steel pan.

"We expect to have a large street participation this year (in terms of floats) in comparison to recent years, as usual culminating in Prospect Park with the post event of live musical performance and dance, food and drink stalls, sound system.

"In general a feel good community event for all the family."

The RCCG want to hear from groups and schools wanting to take part in the procession.

"This event is important to the community as it is the only annual event that the Afro Caribbean community has in which we can celebrate and share our heritage with the wider community," Ms Walker continued.

"Carnival in the Caribbean had a complicated birthright, tied as it is to colonialism, religious conversion, and ultimately freedom and celebration. West Indians when they came to England brought this musical tradition with them.

"Reading Carnival has the potential to be something really special by us, as the community in Reading getting together to see it preserved for future generations."

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