This year’s Cowley Road Carnival is going ahead with floats touring the city’s streets and neighbourhoods so that families and friends don’t even have to leave their doorstep to get a bit of carnival joy.

On July 4 organisers are taking the party to the people with eco floats and live music streamed throughout the day and it’s hoped residents will decorate their homes and organise street parties.

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Each float will be decorated by local artists, schools and other community groups on this year’s theme of Mother Earth.

The vehicles, which will include a new electric Mini, and electric buses from the Oxford Bus Company, Oxford Brookes University and the Oxford Sightseeing bus, will parade through the city accompanied by live music streamed throughout the day so that as many people as possible can get involved in the celebrations.

The route, to be confirmed, is expected to start and finish in the East Oxford area and cover the Oxford Business Park, the Mini plant, Blackbird Leys, Rose Hill, Florence Park and South Park/Oxford Brookes University.

Typically, in pre-Covid times up to 50,000 people have crowded together to celebrate the day. Last year's event had to be cancelled. 

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Pax Nindi, consultant creative director, said: “Keeping members of the public safe is of paramount importance and so we have determined on an innovative celebration of our theme Mother Earth which will bring the party to the people – rather than people to the party!

“We felt that, even with the Government’s roadmap to the end of lockdown, things are still not 100 per cent certain and to bring so many people all together in one place wouldn’t be possible or responsible.

“Instead, this year’s carnival is all about celebrating with your family and friends at home and in your neighbourhood.”

Charity Cowley Road Works, which organises the event, wants as many people as possible to decorate their homes in carnival style with a competition and prizes for the best.

Mr Nindi added: “We want to help people to organise street parties for their communities. We won’t be organising the parties ourselves – but we will publish guidelines to help people to organise their own so that people can celebrate Carnival Day with their friends and neighbours.”

Call out

Guidelines, decorating ideas and recipes will be published on the website soon.

Sean Duvall, charity director, said: “We are incredibly excited about our plans for Carnival @ Home 21. Our aim is to reach as many people as possible with the most brilliant art, music and performance.

“After the year we have all faced, the opportunity to celebrate our communities is more important than ever and we cannot wait to bring the celebrations to you.”

Mr Nindi has called for everyone who would like to be part of the celebrations to register their interest.

He said: “This is a call out for Oxford’s artists, musicians, song-makers, poets, performers, DJs, schools, teachers, community groups and individuals from every corner of the city to sign up and join in.

"We want people of all shapes and sizes, ages, ethnicities and backgrounds to come and take part.”

To register go to the website where further plans will also be published soon.