2021 is the 416th anniversary of The Gunpowder Plot.
Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival has been filmed every year between 1981 and 2019. During those 39 years, 3886 separate entries have taken part in Bridgwater Carnival with 2,030 being mounted entries (carnival carts) and 1,856 walking and other entries. Collectively these entries would have taken a total of 78 hours to pass any one viewing point.
Due to the Pandemic and the associated decision to cancel this year’s carnival procession, for the second successive year Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival will be streaming an online virtual carnival on what would have been carnival night. Taking place on Saturday 6 November at 7pm, the 2 hour online virtual carnival titled ‘Through the Decades’ will feature 100 entries from Bridgwater Carnival processions held between 1981 and 2019.
Between 1981 and 2019, £841,688 has been collected at Bridgwater Carnival and shared between the official Bridgwater Carnival charity and its chosen charities.
Since Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival was first filmed back in November 1981, there have been 887 number one songs in the UK music singles charts. The country has also had 7 Prime Minsters during that time – Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May & Boris Johnson.
The carnival committee have had 14 different presidents since 1981: Clifford Jarvis, Stan Bown, Bill Holland, Ken Parsons, Bill Biffen, Denis Cavill, Dave Patten, Les Criddle, Chris Hocking, Doug Robson, Pete Bastin, Rita Jones, Malcolm Cattle, Mike Crocker. Mike Crocker is the 25th known president in the popular carnival’s long and esteemed history.
13,922 people like the official Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival Facebook page.
5,293 people follow Bridgwater Carnival’s official Twitter account.
Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival launched its very own e-newsletter in 2019 – ‘The Bridgwater Squib’ – to supplement Bridgwater Carnival’s online digital presence on Facebook and Twitter. Since then, this free monthly e-newsletter has proved extremely popular and now has 882 subscribers from all over the UK.
Various research projects and studies have concluded that Bridgwater Carnival is worth an estimated £4,000,000 annually to the local economy – £2,000,000 during the weekend of the carnival and a further £2,000,000 from carnival related activities throughout the year.
The first physical person to portray Guy Fawkes at Bridgwater Carnival was Joseph Spriggs who led the parade in 1896 on the Guy Fawkes cart, a tradition which survives to this very day. Since then archives show only 12 other people have had the honour of portraying this notorious character.
2020 sees the 16th anniversary of the formal unveiling of the carnival squibber statue in the centre of Bridgwater. Watching over the High Street as people go about their daily lives, the statue has become synonymous with carnival lovers from all over the world.
21 giant colourful carnival masks are now on display in retail outlets around the town of Bridgwater. These have all been decorated by children from 16 local schools and nurseries, and the chosen theme is ‘The Future’.
After years of informal annual celebrations, the Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival Committee was formed in 1881 containing just 15 people, and held the first ‘official’ carnival on Monday 7 November. Nowadays the committee boasts over 75 members.
Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival’s carnival centre has now been opened 11 years. Located at the former Sedgemoor District Council’s cash office at Bridgwater town hall, people from all over the country have visited to purchase official carnival merchandise and to see the vast array of carnival photographs, costumes, and other memorabilia on permanent display.
Official Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival calendars were first printed and sold as souvenirs in 1974, meaning the 2022 calendar will be the 48th commissioned and published.
It is estimated over 2,000 people, also known as carnivalites, are involved every year with the organisation and staging of Bridgwater Carnival, all who generously give their time freely.
The standard route the carnival procession ordinarily follows is just over 1.7 miles long and takes 2 hours to pass any one viewing point. For the town’s 2021’s grand walking parade, a slightly shorter route of 1.2 miles is being used.
In modern times, the record for the amount of people simultaneously squibbing at Bridgwater Carnival was set in 2005 (the 400th anniversary of The Gunpowder Plot) when 180 squibbers lined the High Street after the carnival procession had finished.
Since Bridgwater based Gremlins CC first won Bridgwater Carnival back in 1971, the club has taken part in all 343 Somerset County Guy Fawkes Carnivals, winning 153 times (44.6%) and being in the top 3 positions on 264 occasions (77%).
Bridgwater based Crusaders Carnival Club was formed in 1935 and is the oldest surviving carnival club in Bridgwater and indeed Somerset. 2021 sees the club celebrating 86 years in carnival.