Carnival is one of the most special and unique features of Somerset’s autumn season. Carnivals combine grand fireworks displays with street processions, fairgrounds and street food. Hundreds of thousands of people visit multiple locations across the West Country to spectate the total of 21 carnivals during the season. C & D have supported local carnivals across the county for many years, by providing lorries as collection floats and raising money for the carnivals and local charities.
Each area across the West Country is organised into carnival circuits, with each circuit providing its own friendly competition. Carnival clubs and groups travel many miles to line up and parade in colourful spectaculars that bring light, music and business to the towns. Most importantly, they also raise thousands of pounds each year for local charities and good causes. Unfortunately Carnivals have not taken place over the last two years due to the Coronavirus pandemic, however they are back for the 2022 season.
There are at present over 50 carnival clubs with floats (known as carts) which are 100 foot in length. Some carts have two decks of performers with moving parts, turntables and other moving elements with excellent sound systems and up to 30,000 light bulbs. More carts are reducing the energy used by moving to energy saving bulbs and LED’s. Creating carts of this size involves heavy engineering, electronics, carpentry, stage and costume design and the choreography of dance routines.
Carnival has a 400 year history in Somerset beginning with bonfires and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes in Bridgwater. Torchlight processions followed therefore starting the tradition of ‘ carnival processions’, which have developed over 400 years to the spectacular processions of today, with a combination of open-air entertainment, fairgrounds, street food and late-night openings for many shops and restaurants.
Remember to bring plenty of loose change to the carnivals, as the proceeds from the coin-collection carts go to charity and this is where C&D support by providing vehicles to support the processions. This year C&D are supporting South Petherton, Ilminster, Chard, Taunton, Bridgwater and Glastonbury Carnival with collection floats between the months of September and November 2022.
The 100th South Petherton Carnival took place on the 10th September 2022 and had a great turnout. In total, £1028.78 was raised for entries and local charities and organisations from the carnival collection, to watch the full video of the procession please see below.
Keep an eye out for the upcoming Carnival’s in your area and don’t forget to bring your coins for the collection floats! To find out more about Somerset carnivals and see all the upcoming dates click, here.