Generations of Bridgwater families have been, and still are, involved in our carnival. Their skills and enjoyment passed down from father to son, mother to daughter, and in some cases from grandparents too. To maintain our wonderful tradition however it is imperative that we encourage more people, more families to take part so that Bridgwater Carnival can be enjoyed by future generations.
In recent years we have introduced carnival to nearly all schools in the Bridgwater area, inviting children to use their skills and imagination in a number of carnival related activities. Each one including an element of the school syllabus so that the children can learn through enjoyment, and there can surely be no better way.
Our 2014 schools programme includes –
Visual Arts – 13 schools have been supplied with two large models of Chinese Dragons which have been decorated by the children and are on display in shops throughout the town, to find them for yourself download a list of shops where they can be found. The schools involved with this project are; Bridgwater College Academy, Cannington Church of England Primary, Elmwood/Penrose, Nether Stowey Primary, North Petherton Primary, Puriton Primary, Robert Blake Science College, Somerset Bridge Primary, St John & St Francis Primary, St Mary’s Church of England Primary, Wembdon Church of England Primary, Westover Green Primary and Woolavington Primary.
Craft Work – Children in 9 schools have designed and created scale models of carnival carts which will be displayed in a carnival exhibition later in Bridgwater Town Hall in early December.
Literacy – Stories and poems on any carnival subject have been written by students and entered into a competition with book tokens as the prize.
Dance – More than 150 local children from schools (Robert Blake Science College, Chilton Trinity Technological College, Kingsmoor, Somerset Bridge and Westover Green) will take part in a children’s dance parade through the town centre on carnival day at 2.15pm. A children’s lantern parade featuring children from Somerset Bridge Primary School will follow at 3.45pm.
Lanterns – Workshops have been held in schools giving instruction in lantern making using recycled materials.
In addition to all this activity, regular talks are given on the history of Bridgwater Carnival to schools throughout the area which generates tremendous enthusiasm from the children, and staff members too!
Many schools now run their own after-school carnival clubs which generally are oversubscribed, such is the desire to be involved in some way with Bridgwater Carnival.
Chris Hocking, Bridgwater Carnival Committee life member, said: “Involving children in Bridgwater Carnival activities is absolutely vital in ensuring the town’s carnival celebrations continue for many years to come. This year we have tried to include something for everyone as we would like to encourage as many children as possible to engage in our activities.”
The Carnival Schools Project is funded by Arts Council England.