Every year there's a huge street carnival in Somerset, it easily rivals the Notting Hill or Brazilian ones (but with less trouble!!). It starts off in Bridgwater, they have the biggest and longest one there, plus a special kind of firework display called squibbing at the end....the carnival procession starts at 7 pm and finishes up with the squibbing around midnight or later. Over the next fortnight the carnival plays in several other towns....Burnham on Sea, Glastonbury, Weston super Mare, North Petherton, Shepton Mallet, maybe a couple more that I can't remember. We've been every year since our friends first took us about 8 years ago, I absolutely love it.
This year we didn't go to the Bridgwater one where we usually go (held last Saturday) as we were spending the weekend staying with our friends, so we decided to go to the Burnham one. It was fabulous, as always.....shorter with fewer carts (the big floats are called carts down here), but that's not such a bad thing as standing still on a pavement for several hours gives me backache! Well, I wasn't exactly standing still, the really loud music and the whole feel-good spectacle just makes you want to dance....well, it does me anyway!
As well as the big carts (which take each individual carnival club a whole year to plan, build and decorate, as well as making costumes for the performers and learning a new dance routine for the moving ones), there are groups of dancers (mostly children), plus walking performers. All money raised on the night (it's free to watch, but donations are actively encouraged) goes to local charities.
The large carts are divided into 2 categories - on the majority, the performers all sing and dance to a set routine and theme....the others, which are called tableaux carts, have a theme and music but the performers all stay still, some of them standing, others sitting, lying down or even hanging off parts of the set! (depending on their theme). These are some of the tableaux carts:-
Just after this last one passed us, they had a power cut and their music and all their lights went off! Did feel sorry for them, but their engineers managed to get it all working again within a few minutes:-
It was a brilliant night, as always. If you're ever down in Somerset in November, try and get to see one of them.....it's an annual event.