The West’s carnival season got into its stride in earnest on Saturday night, with no fewer than three carnivals taking to the evening streets.
The biggest event was held in Taunton, where the last of the South Somerset circuit processions took place under chilly but clear skies.
The penultimate Wessex Grand Prix circuit event took place at Trowbridge – the last one is in Warminster next Saturday – while Salisbury’s carnival was the climax of its Charter Fair week of celebrations.
At Taunton, the procession took place from a new starting point, with a slightly shorter route.
The changes were introduced in order to ease the congestion at the start and end of the event.
The change was heralded a success by organisers, who admitted it had been a “big challenge”.
Dozens of illuminated carts took to the streets, with traditional frontrunners Eclipse Carnival Club wowing the thousands who turned out to watch with their Moscow entry, and Gemini CC’s Starlight Express lighting up the cold evening.
Chard Majorettes wrapped up warm for the Trowbridge event, where there was a similar chill in the evening air.
There, some 13,000 people lined the route to watch around 50 entries including illuminated carts, dancers, bands and pedestrian entries.
Trowbridge organiser Maryrose Mantle said: “We’ve had a lot of response, not just from the Wessex Carnival Circuit but from clubs and individuals who have been doing carnivals for quite a few years and are very colourful and bright.”
Salisbury’s event raised funds for the mayoral appeal, the Salisbury Diamond Jubilee Fund.
The fund was set up by the Wiltshire Community Foundation to support the lesser known and smaller charities in the city.
The carnival got under way with a performance by the 40-strong band Gugge 2000 on the Guildhall steps in the Market Place.
After Warminster next Saturday, the South Somerset and Wessex Grand Prix circuits come together with the start of the main Somerset County circuit, which this year starts on Saturday, November 3, in Bridgwater.
Bridgwater is the oldest and biggest carnival on the circuit, attracting thousands of spectators each year. It is believed to date back to 1605 and Guy Fawkes’ failed plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
After the Bridgwater event there are then carnivals in Weston, North Petherton, Burnham, Shepton Mallet and Wells before the carnival seasons ends a fortnight later in Glastonbury.
2012 TAUNTON CARNIVAL - PICTURE SPECIAL