The Bridgwater Carnival takes place on the Thursday before Bonfire night and is the largest of several carnivals which tour towns in central Somerset, to celebrate the anniversary of the 1605 gunpowder plot, when Guy Fawkes failed to blow up the English Houses of Parliament.
Taking place at night, the Carnival is a dramatic, illuminated procession of about 100 floats, each lit by thousands of light bulbs and playing music - they are powered by huge generators housed in trailers behind each float. Although a good idea to wrap up at this time of year, the warmth generated by all those lights and the fact that you can't help but dance the night away will all help to keep you warm! Each float is built by a Carnival club representing a town, pub or place of work in the area, with widely varying themes. It claims to be the largest illuminated carnival in Europe, attracting over 150,000 visitors.
A unique feature of the Bridgwater Carnival is the tradition of 'squibbing', which takes place after the procession. Squibs are huge hand-held fireworks, and about 100 are lit at once in a dramatic display. (The practice gives its name to the English expression of 'a damp squib')
The entire event is organised by volunteers and raises money for charity.
Google 'Bridgwater Carnival' - the web-site gives full details of how to watch the procession (early arrival is essential as many main roads are closed for the event) and alternative venues and dates in the different towns of the circuit - Burnham-on-Sea, Wells, Glastonbury and Weston-super-Mare. The web-site also has a photograph gallery from previous processions and video clips of squibbing.
Wikipedia has an excellent review of the history of the Carnival with some great photographs at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Country_Carnival
Put it in your diary now and make sure you come and see for yourself the most amazing carnival in Europe - you won't fail to be impressed and it will light up your winter!
Bridgwater, Somerset, UK
Google map: bit.ly/ijn26L
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