George St celebrates Little Cuba Carnival gallery video

Warwick Smith/Stuff

The music and colour of the "Little Cuba Carnival" with, invited guests, the Topp Twins.

An eclectic mix of artists, entertainers, stalls and the Topp Twins brought Palmerston North's George St to life.

The "free-spirited" Little Cuba Carnival was largely unscripted by Little Cuba project leader Shaun Kay, who was delighted with the way participants invaded the streets on Saturday. 

The highlight of the morning for many of those involved was the appearance of Jools and Lynda Topp, fresh from the opening of The Topp Twins, an exhibition for New Zealand, at Te Manawa.

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Carnival Parade in George Street.

Carnival Parade in George Street.

Steven Willoughby, 8, waits on the Te Manawa sign for the Carnival Parade to commence.

Topp Twins, Lynda (left), Jools (right) with Pania Molloy holding the original painting she created that was used as the poster advertising the Topp Twins exhibition at Te Manawa.

West Papau group wait to perform on stage, from left; Erli Enambero, Selvi Wakum and Riska Tabuni.

Watching and hearing Samba Ao Vento Manawatu from a safe place.

Erli Enambero adjusts her traditional headdress before leading the West Papua cultural group in the Carnival parade from Te Manawa to George Street.

George Street, Palmerston North - Jemma Tolmie, 11, and Samuel Tolmie, 8, enjoy the marble race run made from adjustable shelving.

Samba Ao Vento Manawatu take over George Street.

Carnival Parade in George Street.

Amy Odering, vocalist with her band On The Ledge, entertain the crowd in George Street.

Carnival organiser Shaun Kay (right) guides the Topp Twins to the cake table to judge the cakes on display.

Carnival Parade in George Street.

The Topp Twins, Lynda (left) and Jools with their King Charles spaniel meet Aria Wood, 5, on the comfy chair outside Bruce McKenzie Booksellers.

Topp Twins pose for photos with the competition cakes and the World Vision organising team.

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The Untouchable Girls began their parade down the street with coffee at a cafe, before moving on to judge the cakes.

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Palmerston North Boys' High School cake stall organiser Benji Pritchard said the judges drew quite a crowd, were entertaining, "and they liked them [the cakes] I think".

Top cakes for Topp Twins - Lynda, left, and Jools scrutinise the best cakes on sale at the Little Cuba Carnival in George St.
WARWICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Top cakes for Topp Twins - Lynda, left, and Jools scrutinise the best cakes on sale at the Little Cuba Carnival in George St.

The winning cake was an offering from Olive Tree Retirement Village, with proceeds from cake sales going to help Syrian refugees.

The twins made their way past performers and other stalls into Taonui St, where urban artists Pania Molloy and Gembol Farrell were painting the wall opposite Pita Pit corner.

Kirsty Porter, at Snails artist-run space opposite the new mural, said the Topp Twins had popped in at a moment that could not have been better planned if it was stage managed.

"We were playing Untouchable Girls."

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The 1950s-inspired party at Snails offered retro dress ups and hairdos, and featured a number of borrowed gadgets, such as a wringer washing machine an old hairdryer, from Te Manawa's education collection.

Tea and pikelets were the fare of the day.

Kay estimated more than 2000 people enjoyed the carnival, which was bathed in sunshine on a cold Palmerston North day.

He said the city council-supported event was all about capturing a real "vibe" for the area.

"We're trying to portray that Palmy can be spontaneous and fill the city, without it having to be controlled."

 - Stuff

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