WITH just over 17 weeks to go until Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival once again meanders its way through the streets of Bridgwater, preparations are really beginning to take shape.

The window for applying to take part in this year’s Somerset County Guy Fawkes Carnivals opened earlier this week, and we have already seen entries coming in for our town’s big carnival on Saturday, November 5.

All of the exclusive corporate hospitality tickets for Bridgwater Carnival night have already sold out, and every time we manage to track down and hire another affordable grandstand unit from specialist suppliers, the tickets are snapped up within days.

In previous years, 15 grandstand units have adorned the procession route, but due to massive rising hire costs of these units, so far this year we have only managed to secure nine.

We cannot and will not pay extortionate hire costs for other available grandstand units. We don’t think it’s fair on the carnival itself or the paying public, who are already seeing their finances squeezed dramatically due to the increased cost of living.

Bridgwater Mercury: Bridgwater Carnival's publicity director Dave Stokes.Bridgwater Carnival's publicity director Dave Stokes.

We are still hopeful we can secure at least one additional grandstand unit over the coming weeks, and I would encourage you to keep an eye on our official website and social media channels for further updates.

Talking of finances, we too are not immune from rising costs and if it wasn’t for the generosity and sponsorship support we receive from the local authorities and business sector, our carnival would not be as successful or popular as it is.

We really do appreciate their involvement and the help they give us. Sponsorship can come in the form of services in kind or financial, and there are many available opportunities and realised benefits for businesses and organisation who become an official Bridgwater Carnival sponsor.

The latest sponsor to sign up for this year’s event is Parker Service Group, who are kindly providing professional-looking kit bags for our marshals. A very big thank you to them.

If you would like to learn more about becoming an official carnival sponsor, please drop into the Carnival Centre in the High Street or visit our official website.

And finally, a month after our appearance in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant, we are still remembering and reliving the magical experience.

Local carnivalite and BBC Radio Somerset presenter, Andy Bennett, was part of the team who built the ‘Jubilation’ cart, and from the very start of the project, he filmed the key moments and recorded interviews with some of the characters involved.

After sifting through hours of film footage, Andy has now produced and released a special hour long documentary called ‘From Parkway to the Palace - The Story of the Jubilee’. It’s well worth a watch, and you can view it from our official website (www.bridgwatercarnival.org.uk).

Until the next time…

Dave Stokes