Bridgwater Carnival organisers are celebrating after receiving support from Arts Council England for the fifth consecutive year.
A grant for £32,125 has been awarded for the 2016 Bridgwater Carnival celebrations by the Government funded body, who has the responsibility of distributing money from the Government and National Lottery for the development of arts in England.
Malcolm Cattle, president of Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival Committee, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for everybody associated with our carnival, and I would like to thank Arts Council England for their much needed continued support, and for recognising the role our carnival related activities play in the development of arts in Somerset.
“This money will enable us to continue and increase the work we are doing with local schools in spreading the carnival word. It will also allow us to invite carnival groups from other UK carnivals to take part in our carnival, to introduce a series of carnival skills workshops, and to provide a full programme of top class entertainment on carnival day itself.”
This year nine separate educational carnival projects have been arranged for local school children to participate in. They include workshops to build lanterns from recycled materials which children can then carry in two lantern parades over carnival weekend, a visual arts project where children can decorate large fibre glass carnival masks, a young writers competition where budding poets and writers can showcase their talents, a design and build a model carnival cart competition, a carnival colouring challenge for 4 to 8 year olds, and a choreographed dance parade through the town centre on carnival day itself which has been sponsored by Cllr David Loveridge and Somerset County Council’s health and well-being budget. There are also small papier mache masks available for decoration as well as the offer of school visits to discuss the history and traditions of our famous event.
A new children’s carnival project for 2016 has been the introduction of the building of VEX robotic carnival carts. Sponsored by Autodesk, JT Retail, VEX Robotics and EDF Energy, this exciting new initiative allows school children to build and design robotic carnival carts from VEX kits which are donated to the schools, and then the various schools will be invited to demonstrate the capabilities of their finished models against each other during carnival week. Students will have the first half of the Autumn term to design and create their fully operational model of a carnival cart, using all the skills of mechanics, electronics and robotics, and teachers will be invited to attend a one day training event when the use of the kits will be explained in detail.
The grant will also enable people from across the south west to take part in a range of ‘taster’ workshops aimed at developing carnival skills, and introducing them to new ones. These workshops will be held at Bridgwater College from Friday 2 to Sunday 4 September when college tutors, experienced carnivalites and members of Luton International Carnival will provide expert guidance in everything from stage make-up to welding, and costume construction to model making.
The entertainment for carnival day (Saturday 5 November) is still being finalised, and will be confirmed over the next couple of weeks.