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Steam, Smoke and Sparks at Carlisle Fireshow

fireworks[T]his year’s Bitts Park Fireshow will be held on Saturday 5 November and will celebrate Carlisle’s industrial past.

Themed on Steam, Smoke and Sparks, the centre piece of the bonfire will be a 35-foot tall animated 1850s Steam Locomotive Engine, with moving wheels. The firework display will follow the bonfire and will include 2,000 spectacular sparkles.

It will be the 29th Fireshow event staged by Carlisle City Council.

Pre-entertainment will start at 6.45pm and the Bitts Park bonfire lit at 7pm. A fairground will be open from 5.30pm on Devonshire Walk car park.

Admission is free. A charity collection will be held with all donations going towards the Rotary Club of Carlisle South, (which donates most of its fundraising efforts to local good causes), and the Mayor’s Charity Fund. Volunteers will be holding charity buckets on the entrance to the event and organisers are asking the Fireshow’s adult spectators to consider giving at least £1 each.

Carlisle Fireshow is a family event and no alcohol will be permitted on site or within the fairground in Devonshire Walk car park.

More than 35,000 people are expected to attend the City Council event, organised in conjunction with Merlin Fireworks Ltd.

Cllr Anne Quilter, portfolio holder for Culture, Heritage and Leisure, said: “This year’s Fireshow is set to be another sparkling event and will celebrate Carlisle’s industrial past. As part of the build-up, we are also planning a Fireshow Funday in the city centre between 2pm and 5.30pm. The family-friendly fun will include free activities, with street entertainment, face painting and much more.”

Fireshow Facts

  • Carlisle Fireshow began in 1987 as a community event designed to bring local families together for a fun night out in a safe environment. Around 200 people were expected to attend the first event however it attracted a 2,000 strong crowd.
  • The 1987 Fireshow was held on October 31st.
  • In 1990 there were four bonfires. A giant bonfire now forms the centrepiece of each event.
  • Up until 1994, the fireworks for the Fireshow were released from inside the grounds of Carlisle Castle keep and battlements.
  • The Carlisle Fireshow has developed in to one of the biggest events of its kind in the UK, attracting a 35,000 strong crowd each year and is listed in The Times Top 10 bonfire list.
  • Admission to the event is free but a collection is made for the Mayor’s Charity Fund and the Rotary Club Carlisle (South).

Parking/Access information & Safety Advice

All City Council car parks are free after 6pm, some other car parks may charge. The following temporary traffic arrangements will apply throughout the day:

  • No vehicle access to Bitts Park. The Sheepmount will also be closed.
  • No vehicle access to Dacre Road (adjacent to Carlisle Castle & Bitts Park).
  • Limited parking for Blue Badge holders will be available at Bitts Park (Dacre Road) Car Park. This will be available on a first come, first served basis.
  • No vehicle access to Bitts Park from Willowholme or The Sheepmount.

The Devonshire Walk skate park will be closed from lunchtime on the day of the event.


A special viewing area for people with disabilities including wheelchair users will be set aside on the Sheepmount Road. Up to two carers allowed on the viewing area per individual.

After the event has ended, those wanting to walk to the West of the city will be filtered to the right of Devonshire Walk (towards Caldewgate and the pedestrian crossing opposite the former Globe public house) and those wanting to walk into the city centre will be filtered to the left and will then be able access Castle Street across Castle Way (between the barriers opposite the Castle).


Visitors are asked to note that by the very nature of the event, smoke, noise, embers and mud underfoot, are inevitable. All are requested to be mindful of the risks and to come prepared for such eventualities: warm clothing and suitable footwear.

For safety reasons, no fireworks of any kind (including sparklers) are allowed into this event. Pets are also prohibited from the park: they should be kept safely at home to avoid any possible distress. The sale of glow sticks and other fluorescent items should only be purchased from official sales staff based in and around the Devonshire Walk fairground.

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