About Southend Carnival Events

Southend Carnival Events deliver and support community events to increase the sustainability of Southend’s voluntary and charity sector. Each year Southend Carnival Events through a team of dedicated volunteers each giving up hundreds of hours per year raise over £20,000 for charities and raise awareness of their activities and campaigns. Southend Carnival Procession, our main event held annually since 1906 is the largest community event in South East Essex, with over 25,000 people attending and over 3,000 participants.

Carnival Timeline

2010

Became the biggest community event in Southend

By 2010 carnival still ran a week of events but is expanding to others to still enable charities to progress their work. In 2014 carnival became the biggest community event in Southend gaining support from many local businesses and introduced new events including a steam fair and beer festival throughout the year.
2000

Carnival had brought an estimated £3 million of business into the town

By 2000 carnival had brought an estimated £3 million of business into the town and invested more than £10 million (in real terms) to the local voluntary community.
1980

Local businesses supported carnival

In the 70s and 80s local businesses supported carnival, with sponsorship or entering the procession. By the 90s, interest and participation in the events began to decline and prompted the decision to stop holding the daylight procession, instead raising the profile of the Illuminated procession.
1950

Carnival raised >£90,000 for Southend Hospitals

From 1946-69 Carnival raised >£90,000 for Southend Hospitals and other Southend Charities. In the 1950’s, the Carnival Estate which provides subsided accommodation for vulnerable older people was established in Leigh.
1940

Carnival helped British Service men and women

1940 image of Southend Carnival
In the early 40s Carnival helped British Service men and women and returned in 1946 with a one-day event at the Kursaal Amusement Park with Carnival returning in 1947. 
1930

Carnival became a full week of events

1930 image of Southend Carnival Queen
By 1930, Carnival became a full week of events raising funds a new General Hospital. There was a children’s Fancy Dress Parade, Beautiful Toddlers competition, circus and fete in Chalkwell Park, All Sorts dog show, Beautiful Legs parade, daylight and torchlight processions on the final day of Carnival attended by..Read More
1926

Southend Carnival Association was formed

1953 image of Southend Carnival
The procession continued to support the hospital and included horse-drawn floats. In 1926 Southend Carnival Association was formed.
1906

First Carnival

The first Carnival was in 1906 as part of an annual regatta to raise funds for Southend Victoria Cottage Hospital in Warrior Square.