Published: 00:04, 22 July 2017
Ask your child to grab their favourite teddy and head down to Walmer Green to mark the beginning of Deal’s carnival and regatta week today.
The week-long event which brings in between 20,000 to 30,000 visitors each year will start with the Teddy Bears’ Picnic from 2.30pm.
Entry is by a teddy only. Children will then be given a treasure sheet inviting them to visit each gazebo on the Green to collect free gifts such as a fairground ride, drink, soft toy, sweets and a mystery prize.
Youngsters can also enter their soft toys into the teddy bear court selection for 50p. The event will end about 5.30pm and be followed by the Party on the Green from 7pm to 9.30pm, culminating with a fireworks display.
DJ Gareth Hopkins will provide the music.
John Trickey, chief executive of Deal Community Carnival Association, said: “For many people the picnic is their favourite event of the whole week. It’s a big event for children and it’s such fun.”
The funfair, which sponsors the picnic along with Walmer Parish Council, will also open today.
In March, there were fears the funfair, which has been a big part of the event for the past 70 years, may not feature due to a change in the terms and conditions of Dover District Council’s hire agreement with owner of the attraction Forrest Amusements.
But huge support from the community and a campaign by the Mercury – as well as a 1,194-signature petition by Mr Trickey – prompted a change of heart from the council.
Mr Trickey added: “It would have broken our hearts if we had lost it.”
Tomorrow, there will be action along the promenade all day with a 10k run, sea swim and raft race, sponsored by Castle Removals.
The hopscotch championship will be by Deal Pier at 1pm followed by the lorry-pull at 3.30pm. Teams can enter to take part on the day by visiting the desk at the entrance to the Pier from 2.30pm.
There will also be the baby show on the Wednesday followed by the Party on the Prom and fireworks in the evening.
On Thursday, the carnival will lead off at 7pm from The Strand.
Favourites set to return include the greyhounds and Newfoundland dogs. New for this year are the Mini Red Arrows, Wednesday Willow’s Cowboys and Dover College Lenny the Letter.
Mr Trickey said: “We’ve had more entries than this time last year so I’m looking forward to the biggest carnival ever this year and if the weather holds out it will be fantastic.”
He has made a final plea for donations throughout the week.
He said: “If everybody put just 20p in the bucket we could finance this year’s and next year’s.
“The carnival collection has decreased each year but the
carnival gets bigger. If we can’t raise the funds we can’t keep it going.”
Entry forms for floats and walkers in the carnival procession are available along with those for the raft race and lorry pull, at the East Kent Mercury offices, 13 Queen Street, Deal CT14 6EX