Ipswich’s Sailmakers in line for top award after Caribbean Carnival

The Summer Carnival was held at the Sailmakers Shopping Centre and an event celebrating the Windrush

The Summer Carnival was held at the Sailmakers Shopping Centre and an event celebrating the Windrush generation will occur on Bank Holiday Sunday Picture: Sailmakers Shopping Centre - Credit: Archant

Last summer’s Caribbean-style carnival at Ipswich’s Sailmakers Shopping Centre is in the running for a top award next month.

It has been short-listed in the prestigious Purple Apples 2019, the Shopping Centre ‘Oscars’ which will be held at The Brewery venue on Thursday, May 9.

The success of the West Indian-themed carnival played its part in some impressive footfall figures for Sailmakers which continued through the year so that they finished 2018 up 60,000 visitors to 5.42 million.

Sailmakers Shopping Centre Manager Mike Sorhaindo, whose own parents came to Suffolk from Dominica, in the West Indies, said: “The Summer Carnival was a huge success and offered something for everyone.

“It was a wonderful celebration of the Caribbean, a part of the world with such close ties with the UK and with the Ipswich area and we had lots of fun staging our own carnival celebration.”

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The Caribbean Carnival theme allowed plenty of opportunity for creativity across the fields of music, activities and food with a programme of performers, activity providers and genuine West Indian food adding to and enhancing the vibe so that Sailmakers became a little corner of Port of Spain, Roseau or Kingston.

Caribbean-style artwork decorated the Centre making for a vibrant and engaging atmosphere and setting the tone for the four days of original live experience and turning Sailmakers Shopping Centre into a little corner of paradise from August 9-12.

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Local caterer Steve Turner, whose Jamaican parents were part of the Windrush generation, served up goat curry, jerk chicken, Caribbean macaroni cheese and fried red bream and offered advice and guidance on how to cook Caribbean dishes.

The music of the islands, from calypso to reggae and soca, was also well represented with local steel band Phaze2 performing the closing set on the Sunday of the event.

They are the sons of the original Ipswich Caribbean Band which was formed in the 1960s and they are continuing the tradition and they were joined on stage by Centre Manager Mike Sorhaindo, a well-known singer, to entertain shoppers.

The centre also hosted an exhibition by the Windrush Select Committee marking the 70th anniversary of Windrush and celebrating the impact of the people of the Caribbean on Suffolk.

It was organised by Max Thomas, 53, whose parents came from Jamaica, and he said: “It was great to have a unit at Sailmakers to showcase the fantastic contribution the people of the Caribbean have made to the town and the region over the last 70 years.”

Mr Sorhaindo added: “Sailmakers Summer Carnival was borne out of a desire to recognise the immense influence on the town of the Caribbean community and to celebrate their contribution to the area.

“It also underlined Sailmakers own involvement and place in local life as a hub where people meet, eat and come together and it did that in a joyous and successful way through music, food and the shared memories of the generations.”

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