ORGANISERS of Oxford's biggest public event have hailed their 'virtual' home-based event a huge success.

Cowley Road Carnival festivities broke out all over the city as revellers decorated the UK’s first House Floats, organised community get-togethers and took the party online.

Carnival spirit shone bright as the city celebrated its 20th anniversary on Sunday. 

Organisers had made the call to replace the usual street party of up to 50,000 people with houses decorated as floats, community gatherings and a virtual event.

Carnival director Sean Duvall said: “After a challenging build up, we are delighted with the impact and positivity that was felt around the city. 

“Not only did we run a brilliant Virtual Carnival featuring our wonderful bands, dancers and artists, but we also saw Carnival being celebrated across the city in the form of house floats, garden parties and local events. 

“The Blackbird Leys Family Day was a particular highlight, showcasing the talents of those in the community to lead and organise wonderful positive events for all. 

“We will be back in 2022 stronger than ever. Planning starts soon.” 

East Oxford MP Anneliese Dodds added that it was “great to see fantastic performance, community family activities, house floats and of course the after party, still taking place albeit socially distanced and virtually.”

Events that went ahead included the Confluence Safe Tea Party at the Westbury People’s Gallery in Rose Hill, and a Windrush Caribbean celebration at Littlemore where Jackie Hemmings decorated her home with flags as a House Float.

Oxford Mail: Festival goers

At St Frideswide’s Primary School, the whole school made decorations with the carnival theme of Mother Earth.

Teacher Lauren Arbour said: “The Year 6s learned how to sew and made clouds using different materials. Our year 5s and 6s made birds out of recycled bottles, waves and a rainbow out of an old paddling pool and wrote prayers about our beautiful world.

“Our year 1 and 2 children made a world and wrote how they are going to look after the planet and make it a better place - they are real life eco warriors! Our reception class made Mother Nature herself! She is truly beautiful. She is made of natural materials and the children added butterflies that had plenty of texture and materials.”

Children at Comper School made butterflies to decorate the Church of St Mary & St John on the Cowley Road and artist Alex Singleton painted sunflowers on his house and garage to create a Sunflower House Float.

Oxford Mail: Making butterflies at Comper School

Schoolchildren also designed a futuristic Car-nival MINI in a competition run with MINI Plant Oxford.

After much deliberation first prize was awarded to Thuwayba Abbasi from North Hinksey Primary School.

Meanwhile Virtual Carnival @ Home was hosted by creative consultant director Pax Nindi with a packed programme of performers including a special ‘procession’ from 1AfroFusion African Rhythm and Dance along the Cowley Road.

Oxford Mail: 1AfroFusion African Rhythm

The day concluded with an After Party hosted by local DJ Count Skylarkin on Mixcloud.

You can still see the whole Carnival at and YouTube.