On the morning of Sunday 5th June, Ely's annual Eel Parade took place, led by a new 12m long carnival eel named ‘Eel-izabeth’ to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
The rain subsided just as the Eel Parade started from Ely Cathedral at 10.30am and wiggled its way down the High Street and Forehill to the river, where it came to a stop in Jubilee Gardens, where Visit Ely had organised food stalls and entertainment.
Babylon ARTS commissioned artist Cary Outis to create the eel, with help from Year 5 pupils at Littleport Community Primary School. Over two days in May, 60 pupils got to work tie-dyeing three sections of five metres of cotton muslin to make up the body of the eel.
Chief Executive of Babylon ARTS, Claire Somerville said “We would like to say a big thank you to Cary and the Kingfisher and Nightjar classes and their teachers at Littleport Primary School for all their help in making our new carnival eel.”
The students also used tie-dyeing on thicker cotton, which was used to create individual flags that the students proudly waved as part of the parade procession. The creation of ‘Eel-izabeth’ was thanks to funding from Arts Council England's Jubliee Fund through Cambridgeshire Community Foundation.
Tourism and Town Centres Manager Anna Bennett said, “Eel-izabeth is the perfect example of co-working, partners coming together to create a lasting monument to the wonderful Platinum Jubilee Celebrations here in the City of Ely. What better than this beautiful Eel to celebrate the return of the Eel Parade after three years? Truly a moment that will live on in many memories.”
Eel-izabeth will make another appearance at The Carnival of Animals on Friday 1st July, an event which marks the end of Ely Arts Festival 2022. For more information, visit www.elyartsfestival.org.