The Wilfs Carnival Club was formed in early 1989. Their name was chosen as its means in local vocabulary – ‘likeable people who enjoy life with a serious edge’.
The club started with fourteen male members, mainly from one of the Bridgwater Gangs and Features clubs. The club decided to become a walking group after holding meetings in various pubs in the town, with their first meeting being held in one of the founder member’s front rooms (Mr & Mrs K Stoodley). The club finally settled at the Newmarket Hotel, Bath Road. Other previous headquarters over the years have included, The Volunteer Arms, Bristol Road, and The Bunch of Grapes, St John Street, and the club is currently based at The Sportsman, Bath Road.
Between 1989 and 2019, Mr & Mrs D Irish allowed the club to build their entries at their home in Bawdrip. Also, for many years the club had the services of local builder, M & M Gardener, who kindly supplied the club with a tractor and trailer. More recently and up to the present day, Mr Graham Baker lends his vehicle to the club for the carnivals.
In the first period of the Wilfs history, the club travelled to all seven carnivals on the Somerset County Guy Fawkes Carnivals Association circuit. More recently they now only participate in the carnivals of local towns.
The club have enjoyed much success over the years, winning the county cup for walking entries on numerous occasions. One of the club’s most iconic entries was the ‘Synchronized Swimming Display’ in 1991.
The Wilfs are fortunate to have members who have many skills and disciplines, including carpenters, electricians, sound engineers, painters etc. The club call their helpers ‘Wilfers’ and their ladies ‘Wilfettes’. In recent years Wilfs have become a female dominated club, and find it difficult to recruit male members.
Over the years, the club has gained the reputation for being much travelled, and in the past have appeared in Nether Stowey, Chard, London and Preston (Guild representing Pontins).
The club works hard at raising monies to build their entries, and fundraising activities generally include BBQs and providing security services at Glastonbury Festival.
The Wilfs are well known for having long titles for their carnival entries, and the club enjoys taking part in the squibbing display after Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival.