Following the news that Frome Carnival Committee is to axe ‘Carnival Royalty’ – the selection of a Carnival Queen and Princesses – this year, it has been confirmed that Wellington Carnival will continue to feature a Queen and her attendants.
Frome Carnival organisers are said to believe that the beauty pageant is not in keeping with 21st century values and are to replace the Carnival Queen role by five male and female carnival ‘ambassadors’ of all ages.
Dave Rylatt, Chair of Wellington Carnival Committee, has responded to Frome’s decision. He said, “The selection of carnival royalty each year is an important tradition which dates back to when carnivals first started.
“Wellington had just 6 applicants this year to take part in our pageant and we decided to select all 6 to represent our town. Whilst we ensure the process is fair (it is not a beauty pageant), we are getting fewer applicants year by year. Lack of interest in our event means we have to consider if there is any point in continuing with this tradition. Frome struggles year after year to get people to enter. They should be applauded for trying to think differently.
“Wellington Carnival is very lucky that there are companies that support us by providing our royalty with a lovely experience. Not only do they attend Wellington Carnival on our new float, they also get very spoilt by having fresh bouquets supplied by Bloomin’ Lovely, they get to travel in brand new cars courtesy of Wellington Motors and they get treated to a royal breakfast courtesy of The Green Dragon. Our intention is always to give the girls life-enhancing experiences. They get involved in fund-raising activities at all our town events and represent our town throughout Somerset – and even Devon last year. They also present cups and trophies which means speaking into microphones at events with 350 in the audience.
“I was lucky enough to attend a get-together of many of Wellington Carnival Queens/princesses three years ago, courtesy of Josephine Chave who ran Wellington Carnival for 32 years. It was lovely to see many generations of people who were involved – and it was lovely to hear first-hand of the enjoyable experiences they had.”
Whereas Frome’s decision has prompted a mixed reaction on social media, Wellington’s determination to maintain a long-standing tradition, despite the difficulties it faces, can only be reassuring to those who fear its days are numbered.