Couple urging people to come out and party at South Shields parade

Sandy and Garner Harris.
Sandy and Garner Harris.
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The countdown has begun for community groups across South Tyneside taking part in this year’s Summer Festival Parade.

Hundreds of people of all ages are working hard on a range of colourful and flamboyant costumes ahead of the event on July 1.

We have grown so quickly in the past few years and have an extremely busy summer ahead with more than 30 staff working on the events.

Sandy Harris

The Once Upon A Time themed parade is being led by carnival King and Queen Garner and Sandy Harris who hope as many people as possible will turn out on the day, helping to create a fun party atmosphere.

This year is expected to be the biggest parade yet after the couple were able to secure Arts Council’s Branching Out funding as part of their company The Creative Seed.

This enabled them to bring internationally recognised artists to the North East to collaborate and share ideas.

In April, carnival artist Steven Hoyte, who will also be taking part in the parade as part of the 30-strong Rampage Mas Band from Luton, joined staff from The Creative Seed for a two week residency to work on costumes for the event.

As part of the showcase, which will see community groups walk from South Shields Town Hall to the Bents Park, performers will climb into three metre high aluminium framed structures, which will be mounted on wheels.

Carnival designer Alan Vaughan from TouchDSky, who works on carnivals internationally in places including the Caribbean, has also been commissioned by The Creative Seed as part of the Branching Out project.

He was joined by colleague Adrian Young, who flew in from Trinidad, last month, to work with The Creative Seed’s staff making large Indian elephants for the Jungle Book theme at the South Tyneside Summer Parade. He will also be bringing Moko Jumbie stilt walkers to the event.

Former West End costume designer, Sandy said: “We have grown so quickly in the past few years and have an extremely busy summer ahead with more than 30 staff working on the events. The Creative Seed is now the go to carnival company in the North of England and we are rapidly gaining a national and international reputation.”

The Creative Seed has a core team of 14 permanent staff - including the couple’s daughter Katanya, 22 and son Darnel, 18. The team work across the region and beyond creating carnival-inspired events.

Follow The Creative Seed on Facebook or find them at creativeseed.org