Somerset's spectacular illuminated parades - an experience not to be missed
Somerset Carnivals are the highlight of the year around here, and one of the most exciting displays of amateur entertainment anywhere in the world. They are also highly regarded as the largest illuminated processions in the world. Some of the carnivals attract over a hundred brilliantly lit and decorated carts/floats and exotically dressed performers from the local carnival clubs.
The carnival carts are designed and built by dedicated carnival clubs around the West Country. These clubs have many members who raise money throughout the year, and work relentlessly to achieve the spectacular carnival entries. Each clubs entry then takes part in the carnival parade along with many other entries, putting on a show to the public, and competing with each other to impress the judges. The illuminated carts can be up to 100ft in length, 16ft high, and 11ft wide, and some have 20-30,000 light bulbs. They are mind blowing!
The events are free, but donations are welcome and money is collected from the public where all proceeds go to local charities.
The carnivals operate on a circuit, travelling from town to town, Wellington is the last Saturday of every September and Bridgwater, which is regarded as the biggest and best is held on the first Saturday of every November. For more information and other dates http://www.somersetcarnivals.co.uk/events.asp
The Somerset County carnivals are one of the most spectacular events in Somerset today, and Bridgwater carnival regularly attracts crowds of 150,000. Please bear this in mind when you travel to a carnival. It is good to aim to arrive at least an hour before carnival is due to start.