Vintage Carnival at Leicester Racecourse

Saturday 1st July was the Vintage Carnival held at Leicester Racecourse – a one day event filled with lots of vintage fun and suitable for the whole family.

I went with my partner Rob, his sister and her family, and some friends. The place was full of people dressed up vintage style (including me of course!) with a mix of 1940s and 1950s outfits, both new and original vintage. My favourite was seeing the older couples in their 1940s attire – they looked so smart and of a by-gone era and had a real elegance about them. The very little girls in their old fashioned dresses also looked very cute!

For music lovers there were 2 stages playing different bands throughout the day. There was the Rock and Roll stage which played more 1950s music and also held the Jive competition, and then the Pavilion stage where the music was more 1940s style and where there was also dance lessons and the best dressed competition. Near the Pavilion stage was an outdoor area filled with deckchairs and people on picnic blankets. It was close enough to still hear the music and was very popular throughout the day with the weather being so nice – we spent quite a lot of our time there.

Near the deckchair area were a number of food and drink stalls – all hosted out of different vintage trailers and vans – there was even a horse trailer cocktail bar! My favourite was the gin trailer – the heather-rose gin served with tonic and garnished with rose petals was divine! Rob enjoyed their rhubarb gin which you could have with either tonic or ginger.

Both indoors and outdoors was packed with vintage stalls selling clothes, shoes, accessories and various bric a brac (there was even one for old tools!). The stalls again were a mix of original and modern vintage (I recognised brands such as Hell Bunny, Collectif and Mod Shoes); there was something to suit all tastes. I got myself a Hell Bunny wide elasticated navy belt I had been wanting for a while and a wired navy with white polka dots headband. The headband is so easy to wear and stay in place – I think I will be getting more. Rob’s niece got some original vintage sunglasses in the 1970s John Lennon style.

For outside entertainment there were hula hooping lessons (I could not persuade anyone), a Ferris Wheel (which we had to go on) and lots of old fashioned fairground games such as Tin Can Alley, Hook the Bottle and Coconut Shy. The fairground games were all free, great for keeping the kids entertained – and the men-folk it turned out as the competitive side came out with them trying to out-do each other! There was also a fantastic display of vintage cars and vans – we spent quite a bit of time drooling over those and deciding which we would have!

Throughout the day there was also different workshops you could attend, including one where you could learn how to do the perfect victory roll. I had really wanted to go to that one but lost track of time sitting in the sun listening to the bands and drinking gin!

The event ran from 11am until 7pm, and for those hard core who did not want the fun to end there was also an after party which ran until later. We had sadly had too much sun by then so had to leave.

It was a fantastic day and we all want to go back again next year if it runs again. I may even have another 2 converts to the vintage style as both Rob’s sister and niece want to dress up next year too. I am still yet to persuade Rob he would look dapper in a flat cap and a pair of braces but I am working on it!

The next carnival will be on Saturday 2nd September at Nottingham Racecourse. If you love vintage and live nearby I would definitely recommend it. See for more details.

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