Saturday night was carnival night. For the first year, Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival was held on a Saturday, to try to increase the amount of money collected for local charities. For those who don’t know, the carnival procession is held in the evening and is considered to be the largest illuminated carnival in the world and in fact only Notting Hill in London and Mardi Gras in Rio de Janeiro are probably bigger. The reasons for the procession are two fold, local heritage and culture (not to mention entertainment) and to raise money for charities.
Last year, the carnival was beset by drama and tragedy, with the collapse of the wall by the river and the later serious accident on the M5 near Taunton. Following the accident, carnival-goers held a mass minute’s silence the next day, during the traditional “Black Sunday” celebrations and a significant amount of money was raised by the various clubs. This was recognised by the emergency services during this year’s procession, thanking all the clubs for their help.
The entrants were as spectacular as usual, although I felt that there was a reduction in originality, with a number of entrants having very similar themes to recent years and even some with the exactly the same name during the procession, for example two or three clubs named their entrants “Circus”. One of my favourites was “Be our Guest”, by Wick Carnival Club. It wasn’t as spectacular as some of the big clubs, but they have improved noticeably in the few years I have been watching, plus it was one of the more original ideas. Sometimes I think originality should be rewarded as much as the amount of money that is obviously put into making many of the carts. I also find the entries from Huckyduck and Pentathlon to be quite interesting, but I was slightly disappointed by Huckyduck’s entry this year at the time, although looking at the photos, I like it better. It certainly wasn’t in the same class as their “Spirit of the Blitz” entry a couple of years ago, but was still good.
In what has almost become a tradition in the past decade, Gremlins yet again were the winners, with their entry Revolution. They seem to have a much bigger budget, with so many members, when compared to many other clubs and their cart is always a mass of moving parts.
All in all Bridgwater Carnival 2012 was a success and passed without the major incidents of last year. I think holding it on the Saturday was an improvement, although only the news of how much collected will confrm that.