Carnival In Weston-super-Mare

Thousands of spectators lined the streets of Weston-super-Mare as the town’s carnival procession lit up the autumn gloom. Adults and children wrapped up with hats and scarves watched as the procession weaved its way through the town last night. But luckily they did not need umbrellas as the rain which had plagued the region earlier in the day help off for the duration of the procession. Thankfully it dried up last night and by the time the carnival started it was a clear night, mild and hardly any wind. It was the last carnival in the Somerset series named the Magnificent Seven, which includes visits to Bridgwater, North Petherton, Burnham-on-Sea, Shepton Mallet, Wells and Glastonbury.

So what’s the carnival all about? Carnival is the result of 12 months hard work, fundraising and no doubt some heartache by the many carnival clubs who annually enter the Somerset County Circuit.

Weston-Super-Mare being the last port of call of the circuit always results in a nail-biting finish for the lucky winners along the way. This year there are in excess of 140 entries which will take up to 2 hours to pass by. Entries are either individual, small groups or the large floats with lights, loud music and members doing dance routines.

The floats themselves are covered in lights and if you stand quite close the heat thrown out is tremendous

Dancers on the floats will wear all sorts of costumes, even skimpy ones like this. Do they feel the cold, no idea, maybe the heat from the lights helps.

Make-up plays an essential part in many of the live elements

From the quite wild above to the more simple below

Many of the props on the floats are well designed and you can see that a lot of thought and work has gone into them

My favourite float of the night was this one depicting scenes from Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. It was massive but the attention to detail was amazing.

When I said massive I really meant it. This one was about the length of a two coach sprinter train. If you look at the image below this float stretches from behind the marshal in the foreground to the fourth one way in the distance. To enable control of the float as it manouvers around the streets of Weston and the other towns the marshalls are in touch by intercom to the driver and each other. That way the guy at the back can let them know if they are going to hit something. As you can imagine they are not the easiest thing to drive round

All those bulbs combined with the music, means they need to get power from somewhere and that’s where these deisel generators come in. They are attached to the float and provide power.

The generators have power engineers to look after them, you can’t have one breaking down during the parade.

Finally as the last float goes by I managed to shoot off over 300 images. Checking the Exif info I realised I started shooting at 19:23 hours and finsihed at 21:07 hours as the last float passed by me. Some will be keepers, most I will get rid of.

I hope you enjoyed this brief (????) introduction to a unique West Country tradition


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