For the second consecutive year, members from Wellington Carnival and Wellington Majorettes took part in the Carnival in Torres Vedras, the Portuguese town twinned with Wellington.
Louise Brierley, Wellington Carnival Committee Secretary, said, “During the lunch, the Mayor announced that he had authorised 15 band members of Rufos e Roncos Band from Padre Vitor Melcias School to travel to Wellington in September 2017 to take part in our town’s carnival. We fully intend to reciprocate the fantastic hospitality shown by the Portuguese during our visit.”
Ms Brierley added, “Whilst the word ‘Carnival’ means the same in Portuguese and English, there ends the similarity. Carnival in Wellington takes an hour and a half, and everyone then goes home. The Carnival in Torres Vedras goes on for an entire week and attracts a paying audience of 350,000 – taking part and watching – as well as another 150,000 taking part in their own carnivals in different locations of the town. Something is going on 24 hours per day. This is quite remarkable given that the population of Torres Vedras is currently just 30,000. The Portuguese Carnival is so successful it is attracting people from France, England, Switzerland and, of course, from throughout Portugal.”
This was a cultural exchange including a full itinerary of activities – school visits, local sites of historic interest and participation in a number of carnivals. This year, they were joined by the leaders of French majorette troupe, Rochal Twirl, who took part in Wellington Carnival 2016 and were keen to see if the event would be suitable to take their troupe to in 2018.
It seems that the UK’s Brexit vote provided inspiration for one of the floats – and that Angela Merkel made a less than dignified exit.