Carnival, probably the largest
illuminated carnival in the world, is held around the 5th November
each year, and will this year (2005) be the 400th year of carnival. The
countdown has begun.
The origins of Bridgwater
Carnival date back to the 1605 Gunpowder Plot. The local link
with the plot involves Robert Parsons who was the mastermind behind
the whole scheme. The failure of the plot was met with celebrations
which have evolved over the years into the Carnival as we know it
Bridgwater takes its Carnival
seriously, the origins are lost in time but journalistic records
refer to the event in the 1860's. The Carnival became officially
recognised in 1881.
The event starts in early October
when local clubs present a Carnival
Concert, which has a two week run at the Bridgwater Town Hall.
This event is a sell out and
provides much needed revenue to support the local
Carnival Clubs, who in early
November stage what is probably the largest illuminated carnival
in the world.
Club is made up of volunteers who work hard all year round to
put the carnival on, the event attracts people from all over the
country with many being transported in by special coaches or trains.
The evening finishes with the
annual squibbing display, this is unique to Bridgwater. The squibs
are let off the length of the Bridgwater High Street, when over
100 squibs are let off simultaneously in the air at arms reach,
they are held up by Carnival Club members on a specially built cosh.
the squibs were made specially for Bridgwater Carnival and were
known as the Bridgwater Squib, these culminated with a large bang
as each squib extinguishes.
Unfortunately with the demise
of the firework it has become difficult to purchase squibs with
a bang, so today's squib has no bang,
but the display remains as spectacular as ever and is well worth
The Carnival is very expensive
to stage, the amount an entry can win does not compensate for the
cost of building it. A street collection is made on the day to provide
the participants and local charities with funds.