Despite the ‘expert’ weather forecasters doing their best to dampen the spirit and keep the crowds away, Bridgwater Carnival 2019 will go down as one of the town’s best in recent years.
We should not be surprised, and we should have known better. Bridgwater Carnival never fails to impress, whereas weather forecasters rarely get things right. They had predicted extremely high winds and prolonged torrential rain. They were so wrong. They had predicted the weather would be so bad people should stay away. They were wrong to do that too! What they did not predict or take into account though was the formidable and special spirit which is Bridgwater Carnival.
Just before midday people from all over the country began to descend into the town centre to sample some of this carnival spirit. And they were not disappointed. Generous support from Arts Council England, and other local sponsors consisting of local businesses and organisations, ensured a fun packed carnival day full of top class entertainment, which any town in the world would be proud to host. There was live music, there were marching bands, there were street entertainers, and there was even a children’s dance parade through the town centre, all helping to entertain those who had decided to ignore the continuous doom and gloom being spouted about the weather. A couple of small and insignificant rain showers didn’t dampen their carnival spirit or spoil their fun.
Later that evening as the official Guy Fawkes cart came into view as the front of the carnival procession turned the corner, the thousands of people lining the streets, hurriedly jostled for the best position. The main event was starting and they did not want to miss a single second. For those people who for whatever reason were unable to come to Bridgwater on the night or who had decided to believe the weather forecast, the live internet stream offered by Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival Committee was a lifeline. Not only could they watch the carnival procession in the comfort on their own homes, the viewers from 122 different countries could also see for themselves just how badly the weather forecasters had got things wrong! Just under 100 entries, including 50 spectacular carnival carts, many mesmerising walking entries and the legendary Tommy Banner from The Wurzels, paraded through the streets of Bridgwater as part of the procession, giving their all and oozing the special Bridgwater Carnival spirit.
For the fifth time in six years Gremlins CC took the accolade of overall winners with their breath taking entry Curse of the Kraken, while last year’s carnival champions Marketeers CC came second with Bad Guys. Ramblers CC, the winners of the 2019 carnival concerts, took third place with Welcome to the Sambadrome.
In the local tableaux class, for the 30th consecutive year Wills CC took first place with their entry Smugglers Cove, while in the open tableaux category Huckyduck CC took the honours with Those Magnificent Men. First place in the open feature class was taken by Masqueraders CC from Meare with their entry The Silent Mary (Redemption of the Damned). Other class winners on the night included Bridgwater based clubs Newmarket CC, who took first place in the comic feature class for the sixth consecutive year with their entry Wacky Riders, and Marina Sydenham Juvenile CC who came first for the eighth consecutive year with Sea Warriors.
At the finale the awe inspiring squibbing display brought a fitting end to the 2019 carnival celebrations. 170 squibbers lined the High Street and held aloft a wooden stick (cosh) with a firework (squib) attached to it. What a sight!
The earlier procession start time of 6pm facilitated an early night for the watching thousands. All of the carnival celebrations were over by 10pm, and as people headed for home they found themselves reflecting on the wonder and amazement of what they had just seen.
Away from the razzmatazz of the bright lights and sparkling atmosphere, fundraising is always an important ingredient of this community based carnival. Over £23,000 was collected, and will be shared between the official Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival charity and our supported local charities and good causes.
So that’s it for another year. But what a great event. Those who came and saw it, will never forget it.!
The countdown for Bridgwater Carnival 2020 has already begun…Don’t miss it and don’t listen to those weather forecasters. See you on Saturday 7 November 2019 at 6pm.
Seeing is believing… don’t miss this amazing carnival!