...while the UK’s parade gets a Notting Hill vibe

By Simon Rocker, April 25, 2008

It may not be the Notting Hill Carnival, but the organisers of the “Salute to Israel” parade planned for central London in June hope to give it some of the flair associated with London’s most famous street event.

A creative team with links to the Carnival has been chosen to oversee designs of the procession for London Jewry’s main 60th-anniversary tribute.

Fink Unlimited, which specialises in carnivals, has already revealed at least one Caribbean touch. It is sponsoring one float featuring a steel band, the Croydon Steel Orchestra.

Debi Gardner, a director of Fink, said: “We’re helping groups come up with ideas to decorate their floats and to produce the design to put on the float.”

They will also be trying to impart some of the finer arts of costume creation to parading Jews, such as wire-bending to make frames. “We’re trying to involve people as much as possible in the actual manufacture of the designs,” she said.

Around 18 floats have already been booked, with other groups taking part in the procession on foot.

Jeremy Newmark, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said: “We appointed Fink to help us run the parade because our aim is to create a top-quality visual spectacle bringing a taste of Israel to the streets of London.”

Designer Colin Spalding went to Israel earlier this year to get a feel for its culture, “taking more photos than he’ll ever look at and speaking to different organisations,” Ms Gardner said. “He’s really excited about the project.”

Fink was founded by Justin Nathaniel, a former head of events and safety at the Notting Hill Carnival. Ms Gardner is assistant manager of the steel band Mangrove, which went on a tour to Israel a decade ago. “We had a great time. People were lovely. It’s an amazing country,” she said.

Last updated: 10:52am, April 24 2008