Wellington Carnival – one of the town’s most vibrant and spectacular community events – is just a few days away. Here, Carnival Chair Dave Rylatt provides a valuable, detailed introduction:
Final preparations are underway for Wellington Carnival which takes place on 29th September. Thanks to the efforts of Head of Procession Steve Cook, entries now exceed the 70 mark. Wellington School CCF Corps of Drums will head the pre-procession display, setting off from Rockwell Green at around 7.25pm.
Clubs who enter into carnival are very secretive; they prefer their ‘theme’ to be a surprise. This makes Wellington Carnival very special as a year’s hard work will be on display for the first time. However, there’s a downside in that some clubs will not have finished in time – although the bigger clubs will be working around the clock to get their show on the road. Whilst themes cannot be revealed before carnival, spectators can expect a recent film involving a circus to be amongst the entries!
Local entries from Wellington include Colin Palmer Disco, Wellesley Cinema, Wellington and Taunton Young Farmers, Phoenix Estate Agents, Flip Out, Spotless Valeting, Deane Vale Motors, Somerset Red Arrow Majorettes, South West Computer Recycling, Apple FM, Wellington Pantomime Group and Mount Vets.
Beech Grove School will be defending their ‘Best School’ title and hope to remain unbeaten in this category since the class was introduced.
Wellington Majorettes have incorporated a new song into their routine. They want to keep this secret until Carnival but, so the rumour goes, it will be very much liked by younger members of the audience but not so much appreciated by mums and dads!
We really appreciate clubs visiting us from other towns and there will be some spectacular 100ft fully illuminated floats which include professionally engineered moving parts as well as individual walking entries, groups, majorette troupes and trade entries.
We are also pleased to see Mike Daniells taking part in Wellington again. His entries are always very big crowd pleasers. Mike’s entry this year is PC M1ke; Mike is a larger-than-life character who always plays well to the crowds. We also look forward to Mike’s emails and letters post-Carnival which let us know what us organisers got wrong.
One of the larger entries which has already taken part in other carnivals is Nunsford Nutters with their entry entitled ‘Battle of Portaloo’. We doubt they know of Wellington connections with another famous battle but they’re travelling from Devon to entertain spectators.
Also joining us are United Truckers who promote and are involved in a children’s charity which takes children with special needs and their carers for an unforgettable day out at Crealy Adventure Park every year.
We are proud to welcome two majorette troupes from France, members of La Rochal’ Twirl and Les Batons de L’Estuarie who will travel on Thursday from a small town outside Bordeaux to take part in Wellington.
For the third year running we will also welcome members of the council and twinning committee from our twin town, Torres Vedras in Portugal. The committee will be bringing a small representation from the Portuguese Carnival Club which won the Torres Vedras Carnival in February. Expect our Portuguese guests to distribute ‘cocottes’ to the crowd, a Portuguese Carnival tradition. This twinning arrangement is reciprocal and we very much enjoy promoting friendships between the groups. Thanks go to families and friends of Wellington Majorettes who are kindly hosting our international guests, providing food, accommodation and transport during their stay.
Wellington Carnival is a not for profit organisation and after running costs are deducted all surplus money is donated to local groups and charities. Collection vehicles and collectors will be in the procession so please make a donation. Every penny we collect helps us to maintain this unique Somerset phenomenon in Wellington. Our last two carnivals have been hit by bad weather but we are expecting a dry and fairly warm night this year. We hope that helps make a significant difference to the collection.
The procession will commence at 7.30pm from Rockwell Green, and will not reach the town centre until at least 8.10pm. Spectators can expect the procession to take up to two hours to pass any set point. Last year the procession spread from one side of town to the other, a distance of over 1.5miles.
Finally, a big ‘Thank You’ to dedicated committee members who work so hard throughout the year to plan our event and help with other carnivals. All of them give up so much of their free time and, without their support, we could not put on the event.
– Exeter Road will be closed to traffic from 2.00pm until 9.30pm for the procession to assemble.
– There will be a diversion in place along the Relief Road and through Bagley Road. Local residents in Pitt Farm, and local farmers will be allowed access until the procession moves off.
– We will not be able to allow traffic to access the funfair; you will need to find alternative ways of reaching the attraction
– A rolling shut-down of the main route will be put into place from 6.15pm onwards, starting at Rockwell Green and ending at Cades Farm.
– ‘No Waiting’ cones will be placed along the route and come into force at 5.00pm. Due to the number of residents ignoring the requirement to keep the route clear, there is likely to be enforcement this year, especially around Mantle Street. Please remove your vehicles; it is only for a few hours once a year and the last thing we want is for residents to receive parking fines or have their vehicles towed away.
– Carnival marshals will allow access/egress for Longforth Farm residents until the procession reaches the town centre at approximately 8.15pm. Access/egress during these times will only be possible via the Taunton end of town.
– Car parks are likely to be full so we would encourage spectators to arrive on foot if at all possible.
Wellington has once again teamed up with other South Federation towns to sell novelty toys during the day and night of Carnival. Please only purchase from official sellers. They will be in strategically-placed gazebos on the route, and we will also have a City Plumbing van in the procession manned by Wellington Majorette helpers. You can’t miss them as they will be decked out in their usual purple.
Please do not purchase toys from peddlers. They have nothing to do with Carnival and make no contribution to it, therefore do not support local groups and charities. We can obviously replace any faulty goods sold from our own sellers, but we are powerless do anything if you purchase inferior and more expensive goods from the pedlars. They are easy to spot as they all have trolleys which means they are trading illegally. They also endanger themselves by getting in the way of the procession and do not have our authority to be here.
All profits from the sale of novelty toys from official traders go direct to Carnival funds to be distributed to local groups and charities. Pedlars’ sales are funding some unknown entrepreneur from outside the area.
Purchasers from official sources of novelty toys will also receive a free souvenir programme. These normally retail at £1 and you can enter for a free draw to win £100. Novelty toys will also be sold by a number of our local schools. PTA groups from Wellesley Park, Beech Grove, Rockwell Green School, Sampford Arundell and West Buckland will each receive donations from Carnival funds as thanks to them for supporting what is the biggest, free community event held in Wellington.
All that is now needed is for the whole community to be out on the streets to support the event.