Exeter Carnival: 'Devon's biggest street party' to return for first time since 1998

The carnival was last in the city in November 1998 Credit: BPM Media

The Exeter Carnival is set to return to the city for the first time in 24 years.

The new carnival will take place on Saturday 26 November and will travel through the city to celebrate the community of Exeter.

The last carnival was held in November 1998 and was billed as Devon's biggest annual street party, with more than 130 entries including illuminated floats, masqueraders on foot, bands and majorettes.

InExeter, the business improvement district (BID) in Exeter city centre, is behind the plans for the carnival.

Manager Ann Hunter said: “After the isolation of the pandemic, our aim for Christmas 2022 was to make this a community-focused event and what better way to deliver this than to bring back the Exeter Carnival.

"This event will celebrate and showcase Exeter as a creative and vibrant city.”

Arthur Dyke, who was chairman of the 1998 carnival, said: “It was a massive surprise when I first heard from InExeter and their plans to bring the carnival back to Exeter.

"It is fantastic it is being revived after all these years and will be a key event for the people of Exeter.”

How can you get involved?

During the lead-up to the event, InExeter will be hosting pop-up areas in the city for people to share their memories of the original Exeter Carnival and find out how to get involved in the new one. 

Marina O’Shea, secretary for the South Devon Carnival Association said: “Bringing back carnival will be a big deal for many of Exeter’s residents. InExeter wanted to be sure that we were being true to the original carnival so we can promote the rich cultural history of the city.

"Having Arthur, with all his expertise, experience and passion for carnival and to be able to support us in the planning of the Exeter Carnival is so incredibly special and invaluable. A huge and sincere thanks to Arthur. We hope Exeter Carnival 2022 makes him proud!”

The new Exeter Carnival is billed as a celebration of Exeter, with light up acts, floats and bands and carts in this carnival which will also celebrate the Christmas lights and festivities in the city.