Photo by Carly Dutton (See gallery below for more)
For many Somerset residents November is a month that brings one of the highlights of the year. It’s carnival season and although events similar to our own take place throughout the country, the Somerset carnivals held in seven of our towns are by far the biggest, attracting in excess of 500,000 spectators from the local area and beyond. The history dates back over 400 years as annual celebrations like our carnivals were initially held to mark Guy Fawkes’ failed attempt to blow up parliament. To this day it remains an important set of events for our community as the clubs that make up the Somerset Carnivals Association pull together to provide wonderful evenings of entertainment that funds donations to local charities and gives others a much needed boost.
The Somerset Carnivals Association’s research shows that over 10,000 local people are indirectly involved in these events with a further 3,000 being directly linked. For many of us the night itself is a time shared with the family, others see it as a night out that diverts from the usual, for younger generations it can act as a reunion with people who have moved away, but for those involved it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work. Float construction starts in June, deconstruction ends in February, and in between there’s relentless fundraising, planning and rehearsals. It’s said that the average member dedicates 1000 hours to their club per year!
Masqueraders is just one of the carnival clubs that makes up the association. Based in Meare, they, like every other club, aim to provide a focal point and sense of direction for the community, create a working group that doesn’t discriminate against anyone, teach its members new skills and raise money for local charities. The latter is achievable through street donations at each event, but to do this in the first place roughly £25,000 has to be raised by each club to get the show on the road (pardon the pun).
Now it’s over for another year, but as it’s important to many of our Somerset based readers, Carly Dutton sent in a collection of photographs from this year’s event just so that we can share them with you…
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