Friday, November 27, 2009
West Country carnival
The West Country Carnival is an annual celebration in SW England which features a parade of illuminated floats . The first celebration was held 404 years ago, to mark the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. It started as a procession with wax torches and over time evolved into a series of fabulous nighttime parades.
There are at least two different circuits that I'm aware of, one in Wessex and another in Somerset. The Somerset one (also known as the Bridgwater circuit) is by common admission the better one, with a larger number of illuminated floats, whereas the Wessex carnival has more walking entries.
There are more than 100 floats in the Somerset carnival. They move to a different location every day until they have appeared in 8 separate local carnivals, namely in Bridgwater, North Petherton, Highbridge & Burnham, Shepton Mallet, Midsommer Norton, Wells, Glastonbury and Weston-super-Mare. The photos are from this year's Weston-super-Mare finale.
There are two types of float, tableaus (motionless pose) and features (dancing and movement). I've already shown you pictures of the best tableau (To The Trees) so for this post I have used only pictures of features, namely Parade, Check Mate and Joust. Gremlins CC's Joust and To The Trees were voted joint overall champions by the judges. According to the local press, Joust took 12 months to construct and features 20,000 lights.
If you're interested, you can see (lots) more photos of the carnival on my Flickr account. I took 600 in total, and of those 436 made the Flickr mark.