HE is a self-confessed Bridwater Carnival nut. Meet Dave Stokes, the man charged with publicising Somerset’s flagship event along with the two week long carnival concerts and numerous events in the build up to Saturday, November 7.

“The carnival concerts are four hour long shows,” he said. “All the 13 clubs put on a performance and in between the performances there are front of curtain acts as well as dance shows. It’s the West End in Bridgwater with a lot of enthusiasm with up to 600 people on stage. There are around 3,000 tickets which usually sell out. It’s a curtain raiser for the big night on November 7.”

Mr Stokes is clearly an enthusiast and is clearly excited about the carnival season. But why did he get involved?

“When I was young,” he said, “my home backed onto Westonzoyland Carnival Club’s site. When I got home from school there was nothing much to do, so I’d jump over the fence and help the club build their cart. I was only 10 at the time so it was making tea and coffee and picking up nails and that sort of thing and I’ve been hooked ever since.”

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There are carnivals across Devon and Cornwall with some taking place in the daytime as in Axbridge and others at night on a weekday. Why does Bridgwater have the reputation as the big daddy of them all?

“It’s the oldest carnival in the UK,” he said, “and the roots can be traced back to the Gun Powder Plot, and the second reason is the community factor. Everyone in Bridgwater knows somebody in carnival. You walk down the street any day of the week and you’ll meet someone taking part in a carnival event in the town.”