The popular Isle of Wight Mardi Gras carnival event returns today (Saturday, July 6), bringing a joyful, colourful spectacle to delight audiences young and old.

This year, over 20 schools and community groups, two samba bands and a marching band will participate in the celebration, with homemade creations on the theme ‘Story of Carnival’.

The Island’s carnivals are some of the oldest in the country, dating back to 1887.

Wootton Community Primary SchoolWootton Community Primary School (Image: New Carnival)

Leaving Simeon Street Recreation Ground at 3pm, the parade is expected to reach the main town around 3.45pm.

The route will see the parade travel along The Strand, up Dover Street, along Cross Street, down Union Street to the Esplanade and ending back on Simeon Street.

Mardi Gras 2024 mapMardi Gras 2024 map (Image: New Carnival)

Mini Mardi Gras will take place between 11am and 2.30pm, at Simeon Street Recreation Ground, aimed at younger children and their families.

The event will boast free workshops and activities, with the opportunity to join the carnival parade.

The quiet zone, for those who prefer to see the spectacle without the noise, will be towards the end of the parade, near the canoe lake at the end of the Esplanade.

  • See the Isle of Wight Mardi Gras 2024 programme by scanning the QR code below or tap HERE.

(Image: New Carnival)

The Nottingham-based Zodiac Dancers will return with their high-energy performance and keep a look out for the new giant green man puppet, created by New Carnival artists and volunteers with the internationally renowned Thingumajig Theatre.

Three ‘big cardboard heads’ based on the traditional Commedia Dell'arte characters have been created by members of an IW Adult and Community Learning course.

New Burrokeets made by Linda, Heather and CharlieNew Burrokeets made by Linda, Heather and Charlie (Image: New Carnival)

Global links include authentic Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, costumes, that have been shipped in and re-purposed.

IW College performing art students will be presenting the ‘Rio’ section of the event, with help behind the scenes from the New Carnival youth group.

The IW Indonesian community shared Batik festivals, their history and their meanings, with local Island families in a workshop, which resulted in a set of exceptional costumes.