Harborne Carnival 2022 draws thousands of people to enjoy the sunshine

Harborne Carnival returned today (Sunday June 26), following a two year break due to Covid – and it was bigger and better than ever before. Thousands of people turned out to enjoy the glorious sunshine.

The event has attracted up to 70,000 people in previous years, and it is said to be the UK’s second biggest street carnival after Notting Hill. The glorious sunshine, plus the fact that it was the first time the community had been able to come together for the carnival, meant that there was a huge turnout once again.

Families indulged in delicious street food, browsed stalls full of imaginative gifts, cards and jewellery handmade by local designer-makers and listened to Birmingham bands and singer-songwriters as they performed on two stages, on the High Street and at the Green Man pub.

Read more : Things to do with the kids in and around Birmingham

There were loads of things to do with the kids. Many could be heard squealing in delight as they rode the fairground rides, bounced on bungee trampoline and frolicked in the Fun House.

Take a look at our gallery of 56 colourful pictures of all the fun of the carnival in Harborne …

Even before the carnival’s official start at 11am, the streets of Harborne were packed with people, cheering on schoolchildren who took to the stage to perform and tucking into brunch and snacks. We caught up with some of the stallholders to find out what they were selling.

Jan Hartland has grown and sold plants from her Kings Heath garden for years. She had a very colourful Jan’s Plants stall at the carnival, full of geraniums, petunias, marigolds and more. There were pots of six bedding plants for £2 and hanging baskets for £14.

“It’s great to be back,” said Jan, who has been attending the carnival for more than 10 years. “It’s a lovely do, everyone seems to enjoy it. It’s even better this year, it’s a really big one. It’s nice for communities to come together again. Kings Heath used to have one but they don’t do it any more so it’s lovely to be able to have the Harborne Carnival.”

Dietician Joleen Sutcliffe has an unusual hobby – she loves pick n mix sweets and had a stall of her favourite candies at the carnival.

“It started as a hobby to make a bit of money whilst working part time as a dietician around the kids,” said Joleen, who was born in Harborne and now lives in Sutton Coldfield.

“I love food and a lot of dieticians go into food. Pick n mix has been a family trend. A good diet is all about balance. I know it’s a cliché but you should enjoy everything in moderation. Food is for enjoying and it’s good for you to have a bit of something you love.”

Simon Fenton hand-paints canvases of famous rock stars and movie legends. Scores of canvases of the likes of Dave Grohl, Amy Winehouse, ACDC, David Bowie and The Joker lined his stall, in a dazzling rainbow of colours.

Amazingly, he said he’s able to paint a canvas in just half an hour – but then he has got 30 years of experience and has been coming to the carnival for three or four years.

“I love to paint and I do it quickly, hence the price tag,” said Simon, from Quinton, who sells his canvases for around £20 each as Simon Fenton Arts. “They are simple but effective. I was a regular at the carnival for around three or four years before Covid so it’s nice to be back again.”

Many stallholders had only recently launched their businesses post the pandemic. Miles Grennan launched Cameler Spice Co in September 2021 with his partner, who used to work behind the scenes on Saturday Kitchen. They make and blend spices in Edgbaston that can be used in cooking and cocktails.

“All the alchemy happens in Edgbaston,” he said, “”We have 12 spices from Persia, the Middle East and North Africa. They are 100 percent natural with no added sugar. It’s great to be at the Harborne Carnival. We’ve been selling our spices at Edgbaston Market and we’ve just been invited to go and sell at Covent Garden and Borough Market in London.

“You can add the spices to rice, meat and even Bloody Mary’s. Some have come from recipes from the partner’s grandmother. Our goal is to grow so we become a local employer in the area.”

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Rebecca Dawkins set up Music Monsters in September 2021. The Halesowen mum-of-two said: “I teach children how to play piano through play, starting with children as young as three. It’s very hands-on learning. I’m starting new classes in September 2022 in Harborne, Bearwood and Halesowen.

“One will be for pre-schoolers, one for children aged four to seven and another for eight to 11-year-olds. This is my first carnival and I’m really enjoying it.”

Other stalls included Yeti Cards and Gifts, glass blown objects and recycled art pieces from Big Red Elephant in Dudley and Brumhaus Birmingham landmark images. There were also lots of charity stalls and innovative individuals such as Angela Dyer who makes garden ornaments and wooden furniture from reclaimed wood cut down collected from the council’s tree cutting service and recycled tin cans. As a trustee of the Gumboots Foundation UK, she donates all the proceeds from her sales to the charity to help education and empower children in Africa.

There was also Unicorn Face Painting by Martha Sanjaya, Henna by Chana and lots of unusual gift stalls.

Live music came from local guitar singer songwriters and bands plus there was dance, piano playing and singing from local schoolchildren. The event was opened by Birmingham Lord Mayor Cllr Maureen Cornish, who said she really enjoyed the event, was delighted to see the community coming together again and had been impressed by the number of creative people in the area who were showcasing their work.

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