The Carnival's Past

Cromer already had an annual week-long fair by 1285! By early in the 1800s this had become a pleasure fair held largely on the sea on Whit Monday and Tuesday.

Regattas at Cromer about 1880

In the early 20th century, after the building of Cromer's present pier, the carnivals were held on the pier itself. Fancy dress parades were held on the pier and boat races took place alongside the pier. The highlight of the event was sometimes a 'fire diver', diving off the side of the pier, not an event encouraged today!

Fancy dress on the pier at the end of the 1920s

In the 1950s and 1960s Cromer Carnival centred around a parade of floats through the town centre. There was a break in the latter part of the 1960s, and in 1969 the carnival got under way again and has continued to grow through to the present day. Carnival Day was established as the Wednesday of the third week in August and other weeks of events were built around the main Carnival week.

Contestants ready for the parade in 1964

Today Cromer Carnival is run by the Cromer Voluntary Entertainments Organisation Ltd, a group of townspeople who devote much time and energy to the planning of each year's activities. They have the support of many other active helpers of all ages who make things happen every August - and at other events throughout the year.

The crab dressing competition and the Carnival Queen, 1971

We're planning to add photographs from the many ages of Cromer Carnival to this page. If you have got a favourite family picture - it must be a family picture and not one to which another photographer or organisation, such as the press holds the copyright - please scan it and send it through to us, together with a short caption. (JPEG format, 72 dpi will be fine.)

Sir Norman Wisdom crowned the Carnival Queen for 2001