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Mardi Gras proves a hit

PUBLISHED: 17:16 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:45 30 June 2010

The pancake contest at Great Yarmouth Mardi Gras

The pancake contest at Great Yarmouth Mardi Gras

IN what organisers termed a showing of “blitz spirit”, revellers enjoyed a rainy afternoon at a Mardi Gras festival that was a fair bit damper than its cousins in New Orleans or Rio de Janeiro.

The pancake contest at the Yarmouth Mardi Gras

IN what organisers termed a showing of “blitz spirit”, revellers enjoyed a rainy afternoon at a Mardi Gras festival that was a fair bit damper than its cousins in New Orleans or Rio de Janeiro.

Hundreds turned out to celebrate the event being held in Great Yarmouth on Pancake Day as King Street was transformed into an international quarter, with as pancakes being tossed, parades, stilt walkers and comics entertaining the crowds.

Despite raining throughout the whole afternoon the Mardi Gras proved a hit with young and old alike as they gathered to watch the multi-cultural event which had been organised by Yarmouth-based SeaChange Arts.

Launching the festival, mayor Tony Smith summed up the spirit of the crowd who had braved the elements.

He joked: “Isn't it lovely being in New Orleans, the sun is shining, beating down - it's about 80 degrees.”

Mr Smith joined in the fun as he danced in a puppet head parade and then eyed up the pancakes on sale to celebrate Shrove Tuesday.

Other events in King Street included a wacky Total Crepe pancake race, juggling unicyclists and cooking demonstrations by French chef Franck Pontais, of BBC's Ready Steady Cook fame.

To mark the town's large Lithuanian population Yarmouth's tourism chief Alan Carr took part in the eastern European traditional spring celebration of a fight between “fatso” and Hempen.

A cabaret night was also held in King's Bar, a music workshop was held in the House of Snacks and children could make drums in the Comeunity building.

It is hoped the Mardi Gras will be the first of many cultural events to be held in King Street as work is gathers pace to turn the area into a continental style arts quarter in a multi-million pound regeneration project.

SeaChange Arts chief executive Joe Mackintosh said: “Obviously the weather has not been good but we had a lot of interest and the Mardi Gras went smoothly. It brings something different to Yarmouth and has brightened up February. It has also put down a great marker for future events in the town.”

Darren Cross, a spokesman for the organisation added that a meeting was being held to see what the plan might be for next year.

He said: “Certainly the intention is that we would like it to be a yearly event, and the motivation is to up the cultural offering on King Street. However, the feedback we got from people was good, and there was certainly a show of what you'd call blitz spirit from those who attended.”

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