Carnival Then and Now...
Our second carnival since I have been at St John’s went even better than last year. The talented musicians and drama group kept us entertained while we sipped home-made pink lemonade and elderflower cordial in the hot sun. Like last year, we had an amazing team of volunteers who joined in with everything asked of them. It was great to have the enthusiastic Brownies and Guides helping out again.
It was a wonderful privilege to serve alongside Oasis Church – who this year brought even more carnival games with them. We had two children’s crafts and five different games to get involved in, all of which were popular with children and families as they passed by. Many passers-by said that they weren’t expecting to find the games and craft but were so pleased when they did.
We set up a prayer tent again this year and filled it with different ways to pray. The team in the tent had some great conversations with people who were curious about what we believe, facilitated by the ‘conversation piece’ – again manned by some courageous volunteers. This year, to join in with the 2019 carnival theme, we had our very own artists in residence who not only provided artwork to display, but also sat out in the hot sun and chatted to passers-by as they worked. The weather held out right up until we were already packing away – a good end to a long day.
A couple of weeks ago the staff team cleared out the cupboards at the offices, during which we found some entertaining and exciting documents telling us of the fun had in previous years at the carnival. Perhaps those who came along will recognise why I pick out the entry from 2004.
In 2004, in a copy of Inside Out (the church newspaper) Jeremy Thompson wrote:
‘The theme of Mardi Gras turned heads at this year’s Harborne Carnival on Sunday 27th June as St John’s Staff and others paraded in red, white and gold costumes and masks among the thousands of people who turned up to enjoy another fun day out…
…The Roadside Café outside St John’s church once more resuscitated many satisfied customers, entertained as they ate and drank by superb performances…
…Our perennial pre-occupation with the weather was this time apt for the day; with most activities uncovered, a downpour would have put a real damper on the day. An unsettled forecast the day before brought many heads upwards and fervent prayers for the rain to hold off, which gratefully it did and there was again glorious sunshine right up until the only short shower for the day which brought squeals from the Edgbaston Brownies gathered for the parade at 4.00pm.’
As the saying goes, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. I think I’ll finish my blog this year with a thank you quote from Inside Out:
‘All the volunteers who helped organise and set up stalls and entertainment, to serve on the roadside café, take part in the parade and Songs of Praise and to clear up afterwards (especially in the closing rain!) did a wonderful job to once again make the day a great success.’