With Wellington Carnival just days away, the organisers have issued a plea to the local community and visitors to offer their support in a practical way – by only buying merchandise and souvenirs from official vendors. Proceeds collected by vendors wearing the ‘Official Seller’ badge will all go towards offsetting the cost of staging the event – estimated at £7,000 – and ensure its future.
Carnival Committee Secretary Louise Brierley identified the major costs involved: “We have insurance costs of £2,000, prize money totaling £1,500, £2,000 for miscellaneous items such as toilet hire, Carnival Princesses’ and Queen’s dresses, catering costs for judges and marshals and the cost of maintenance and repairs to our float. We currently rely on Bridgwater to instigate road closures. This has a commercial value of £3,000. The average street collection for the last three years is £3,000 so it’s not difficult to work out that, without other events supporting the Carnival such as Wellington Street Fair, abseil events and Christmas float initiatives, we would not be able to continue.”
She added, “That said, we are very proud that for the last three years we have donated an average of £5,000 to local groups and charities -and we would dearly love to donate more!”
Working with other Carnival Committees in the South Somerset Federation of Carnivals the organisers will, for the first time this year, raise revenue by selling the carnivals’ own merchandise including LED toys, hats and balloons. Authorised vendors wearing the ‘Official Seller’ tabards and signs are those whose revenue is returned to the Carnival Committees to donate to local organisations; those not wearing the signage are independent street vendors from as far away as the Midlands who use local carnivals to make their own profits, estimated to be up to £10,000.
Merchandise will be available from official vendors and from a City Plumbing van carrying the ‘Official Seller’ signage along the route from Rockwell Green before and during the carnival. C & C Carpets in Mantle Street is also selling a selection of official merchandise during the day.
Wellington Carnival Committee has also produced a souvenir programme which contains information about the carnival, its 125 year history and articles from local dignitaries and clubs. Louise Brierley said, “We are the envy of other towns involved in carnival as, even though we have a very small band of volunteers, we still manage to produce a souvenir programme. We are extremely grateful for all the local businesses mentioned in the programme who have either supported us with a contribution to printing costs, and/or provided services to enable the carnival to take place.” The programme also offers a chance to win £100.
The programmes are available in advance from Teare’s Newsagents in South St, Wellington Weekly News Office in the High Street and the Post Office in Rockwell Green and during the Carnival.