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Somerset Carnivals preview: All the information you need to enjoy the 2012 carnival season

By JaquiLethaby  |  Posted: October 03, 2012

  • The spectacular procession at Bridgwater Carnival

  • The squibbing tradition at Bridgwater Carnival

  • Weston-super-Mare Carnival

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As the nights draw in and temperatures begin to drop, the change in season is warmly greeted across Somerset as a herald of the approaching carnival season.

Around 60 carnival carts take part for each of the seven Somerset County Guy Fawkes Association Carnivals They are often in excess of 100 ft long and lit by thousands of lights, forming the largest illuminated procession in Europe. 

Each exhibit provides an explosive atmosphere of colour, sound, movement and drama. The performers are masters of their art and the costumes have to be seen to be believed.

0fficials recommend that spectators arrive an hour before each carnival is scheduled to start to allow time to walk from the official parking areas and find a good spot to view the festivities. Please be aware that full road closures come into place 30 minutes before the carnival begins unless stated below.

Organisers for Somerset Carnivals request that each spectator donate £1 to help hundreds of local families and individuals. For over two hours of riotous entertainment, it represents fantastic value for money.

BRIDGWATER - SATURDAY 3RD NOVEMBER - 7:00pm

The carnival route begins at 7pm in Bath Road, crossing the Cross Rifles Roundabout  and proceeding along  Monmouth Street, Broadway, St Mary's Street, Cornhill, High Street, Penel Orlieu ending on the Broadway. 

To allow for the street entertainment and erection of the grandstand, the following earlier road closures will be put in place in addition to the full road closure 30 minutes before the carnival starts: 

At 1400 hours High Street, Clare Street, York Buildings, Lamb Lane and Cornhill will close. At 1730 hours the Broadway from the junction with Penel Orlieu and northbound from Salmon Parade.  At 1815 hours closure points will be installed at Bath Road/Bower Lane, Bath Road/Parkway, Westonzoyland Road/Parkway, Parkway/Sydenham Road (at the junction nearest Bath Road).

There is an extensive programme of entertainment for the entire day across the town: 

The Cornhill Stage will be entertaining crowds from 10:30 - 19:30 featuring Bridgwater College Performing Arts, Bob Reynolds New Society Jazz BandThe Sneakers , ACTS Samba Band, Hot Potato Syncopators  and Sound Seven

There will also be live performances in the High Street including Lazy Town at 15:30

See official carnival programme for details including times, other acts and venues.

WESTON-SUPER-MARE - FRIDAY 9TH NOVEMBER - 7:15pm 

Beginning at 7:15pm at Locking Road car park, the carnival will follow its traditional route via Tesco, Alexandra Parade, Alfred Street, Waterloo Street, South Parade, Royal Parade, Beach Road to Carlton Street.

NORTH PETHERTON - SATURDAY 10TH NOVEMBER - 7:00pm 

The procession starts at 7:00pm from the Rugby Club and heads north along Fore Street through the Town to end at the Huntworth  Roundabout.

Road closures come into affect from 5:30pm for this carnival.

BURNHAM-ON-SEA / HIGHBRIDGE - MONDAY 12TH NOVEMBER - 7:30 pm 

Starting at 7:30pm at Love Lane, proceeding along Manor Road, Victoria Street, High Street ending on Marine Drive. 

SHEPTON MALLET - WEDNESDAY 14TH NOVEMBER - 7:30 pm 

Starting at 7:30pm at Compton Corner continuing via Townsend, Old Market Road, Commercial Road, Paul Street and ending on Charlton Road.

WELLS - FRIDAY 16TH NOVEMBER - 7:30pm

Returning to its normal route, the procession starts at 7:30pm at Strawberry Way, turning right into Tucker Street, left into Princes Road, right into Chamberlain Street and from there into Sadler Street, High Street, Broad Street and Priory Road, ending at the roundabout.

GLASTONBURY - SATURDAY 17TH NOVEMBER - 7:00pm

Beginning at 7:00pm on the A39, turning onto Street Road, Magdalene Street, High Street and ending on the Wells Road. 

These are the seven largest events, but there are many others to enjoy including: Ilminster, Gillingham, Chard, Castle Cary, Taunton, Trowbridge, Warminster and Midsomer Norton. Dates and times can be found on the Somerset Carnivals website

WELLINGTON CARNIVAL - PICTURE SPECIAL

Photos: Wellington Carnival 2012 - in pictures

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