BRIDGWATER Guy Fawkes Carnival won another prestigious award at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards held at Cadbury House in Congresbury.

The carnival, which has the reputation for being one of the largest illuminated processions in Europe, saw off strong competition to win a coveted gold award in the Tourism Event and Festival of the year category.

This recognition comes just months after the carnival took ‘gold’ at the 2015/16 South West Tourism Excellence Awards.

This was the first time the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards had been held, and over 280 guests attended the evening which was presented by BBC Radio Bristol’s Laura Rawlings.

There were awards for 20 different tourism categories, and winners had been through a rigorous three stage process examining websites, social media reviews and ‘mystery visits’ before being assessed by a judging panel. All winners were invited onto the stage to be presented with individually crafted awards made by Will Shakspeare, from Shakspeare Glass in Langport.

Malcolm Cattle, president of Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival, was delighted and said: “What a fantastic night and what an amazing achievement.

"This news tops a remarkable year for Bridgwater Carnival and comes just two weeks before this year’s carnival procession on Saturday 5 November.

“I would like to say a big thank you to the carnival committee, the entrants and to the spectators for making this award possible, and it is great to see Bridgwater Carnival continue to go from strength to strength.”

The Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival weekend celebrations will start with a bang with a ‘Grand Firework Display’.

Sponsored by Bridgwater Town Council and supported by Sedgemoor District Council for the eleventh successive year, the curtain raiser event will take place on Friday, November 4 at 7.30pm.

The glittering fireworks display has proved popular in the past with spectators and has been well supported by people in and around the Sedgemoor area.

The build up to the fireworks display will start at 3pm, as there will be other attractions at St Matthew’s Field to entertain the family, including a handful of fairground rides, kindly provided by the world famous Chipperfield family.

Children from Willowdown, Otterhampton, St Mary’s Church of England and Elmwood primary schools, will also be getting in on the fun with a special lantern parade before the big display begins.

Alan Hurford, town clerk for Bridgwater Town Council, said: “Bridgwater Town Council is pleased to sponsor the firework display once again as the opener to the Bridgwater Carnival weekend.

"It has become an eagerly anticipated attraction in the town's entertainment calendar and we are set for another fantastic show.”

A spokesman for Sedgemoor District Council, said: "The build up to the event itself gets better each year and we hope that everyone will enjoy the fireworks and entertainments, as well as the parade itself."

As in previous years, school children have been asked to design and decorate large fibre glass masks supplied by Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival Committee.

These 24 masks have now all been displayed in retail outlets throughout the town, creating a carnival trail around Bridgwater for townsfolk and visitors to discover. Entry forms are available from the carnival centre.