THIS year’s Kendal Torchlight Carnival promises to be a weekend of celebrations and carnival atmosphere.

Founded in 1970, the event has become firmly rooted in Kendal’s heritage and attracts thousands of visitors to the town each year.

This year's carnival starts today (September 14) when crowds will gather as the sun goes down to watch the procession, which involves local businesses, schools, organisations and clubs, features decorated floats, dancing troupes and marching musicians.

This year's theme is ‘Books and Authors' so spectators can expect to see an array of literary characters lighting up the Kendal streets.

The carnival starts at 7.30pm from Kirkbie Kendal School before looping around the town centre and finally finishing back at Kendal Leisure centre at around 10pm.

The Torchlight Carnival promotes the best of Kendal and, over the last 47 years, has enabled the chosen charities to collect tens of thousands of pounds towards their worthy causes. The charities this year are The Royal British Legion, South Lakeland Mind, Cancer Care, Rosemere Foundation and the Oaklea Trust.

Last year, more than 30,000 people lined the streets to watch the procession, which included 1,500 participants, and required 150 volunteers to marshal and steward the event around.

Entries this year include The Hungry Caterpillar – built in a series of open workshops held at the Westmorland Shopping Centre throughout August and September; Blue Jam Arts; Poco Logo Samba Band; Ghyllside School; Lowick YFC and a host of vintage vehicles.

On Saturday, thanks to ongoing support from its sponsors and from Kendal BID, the celebrations will continue in daylight with the third annual street party. From Kendal Library to the town hall, the streets will be buzzing with stalls, a display of procession sculptures and costumes, music and dance acts and a mini carnival procession.

New for 2018 is an evening performance stage on Saturday night, which will see performances from bands Scrogans Run and Groove Train, who will entertain the crowds from 5pm until 9pm.

On Friday night, all of the main access roads into the town centre will be closed to traffic from 6.30pm. The procession will begin from Kendal Leisure Centre and Kirkbie Kendal School at 7.30pm. The route follows Lound Road and Aynam Road, up Blackhall Road and Sandes Avenue, before looping back round Stricklandgate and Highgate before crossing Victoria Bridge to return to Kirkbie Kendal School.

A map of the route is available at

There will be no access to Kirkbie Kendal School car park after 4pm. The leisure centre car park will be closed from 4pm to all vehicles except torchlight vehicles. There will be no parking on Natland Road from 8am. Roads will reopen after the procession at approximately 11pm.

On Saturday the main street will be closed from the town hall to Kendal Library, from 8am to 10pm.