Kingston's annual Carnival is taking place today (September 1) through the town, with parties, processions and more all anticipated.

The annual Carnival is a celebration of the borough's diversity and cultural richness, and features a variety of performing arts on show, plus a wealth of some of the borough's best cuisine.

Proceedings officially get underway from midday today with the main procession outside Kingston Guildhall.

"A variety of family friendly carnival activities and different acts will be performing at the event from 12pm-7pm in the Market Place, High Street, Memorial Gardens, All Saints Church and outside the Rose Theatre," Kingston Council (RBK) said.

Kingston Race Equalities Council (KREC), who helped found the event, said that 2019's theme will be "promote unity within communities by celebrating the various cultures which exist and live happily together."

Surrey Comet: Kingston Carnival 2018Kingston Carnival 2018

The equalities group added that sustainability and an inclusive approach to staging the borough's own party would also be at the heart of today's proceedings.

"It will be used to also positively promote the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames as a place to live, come and enjoy all the facilities and have fun and will also have a “Green Zone” showcasing environmental issues and sustainability," a KREC spokesperson said.

This year's event takes place amid an optimistic atmosphere after the Carnival was threatened after a bid for funding from Arts Council England was rejected.

As the Comet reported last month, crowdfunding and support for RBK helped save this year's event from the threat of cancellation.

After the rejection of funding from Arts Council England, RBK stepped in to provide an additional £7,500 of "emergency funding" to ensure the event goes ahead.

Surrey Comet: Kingston Carnival 2018Kingston Carnival 2018

Councillor Liz Green, Leader of Kingston Council, said:

"Kingston Carnival is a great community event, bringing everyone together in celebration and one of my personal favourites of the annual calendar.

"It is always hard to find sufficient funding to ensure a wonderful, spectacular, but safe, event and I am disappointed that their bid for Arts Council funding was not successful this year.

"Officers of Kingston Council and I have all worked with the organisers to find partners willing to make up the shortfall this has created in their budgets.

"Most of the money needed has now been found from sponsors and other founders, including Kingston Council."

Temporary road closures are in place in Kingston throughout the day to allow traffic free space for revellers and attendees alike.

All town centre car parks will be open as normal.

The road closures include:

  • Kingston High Street and Eden Street up to Union Street will be closed to traffic from 6am-9pm.
  • Eden Street from the junction of St James’s Road and Union Street will be closed from 11.45am to 1.15pm while the procession is taking place.