The Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival is set for November 1, 2014.
First, the bad news. All the grandstand seats for this year’s procession are now sold out. There, that’s out of the way. Now for the good news (and there is lots of it). Bridgwater is only a short 30-minute drive from Lakeside; there are also two park and ride locations for 2014, one off J23 and one off J24 of the M5.
These are just details involving getting to the Carnival and getting a good seat for the procession. There is so much more to the Guy Fawkes Carnival which has been celebrated in this Somerset town since 1605.
Of course, the Carnival has grown considerably in the centuries since then. The main feature of the Carnival is the outstanding illuminated evening parade that is referred to as one of the world’s largest illuminated parades. There are more than fifty illuminated carnival carts, marching bands and walking masqueraders in the parade that goes on for two hours.
As a point of clarification, you can still see the astonishing procession from the street even if the grandstand seats are sold out.
In keeping with the gunpowder based origin of this celebration, there are fireworks in the evening in the centre of the town after the parade. Part of the glory of the fireworks display is Bridgwater’s squibbing factor. This is a very different way of displaying fireworks.
Squibbing refers to large fireworks being released simultaneously. At the Carnival, about 150 squibbers line the Bridgwater High Street, two wide, and light their squibs simultaneously.
These are the evening activities but the festivities really begin at 10:30 a.m. although the Act Choir is performing at the Angel Place Shopping Centre from 10 until noon. At 10:30, Jordan Hill opens the show on the Cornhill stage.
For the rest of the day, other acts delight from the Cornhill stage. These include Same Old Faces, Harry Winchester, Dan The Hat, The Gaslights, Lantern Parade, Two Tone, ACTS Samba Band, and ABBA Tribute.
Meanwhile on High Street, there is an endless show by Majorette Displays, Escapologist Gareth Jones, Meridian Corps Of Drums, Matthew Barnard (Man of Tweed), Children’s Parade, Bournemouth Carnival Band, Samba Galez, Dan the Hat, and the variety of Jones & Barnard.
There are also shows throughout the day at the High Street Stage, St Mary’s Church, Bridgwater Arts Centre, Town Centre, and Fore Street.
Thousands of people turn out for this day-long spectacular event. Time is counting down so make plans now for a traditional Guy Fawkes celebration in Bridgwater. The funding for Carnival entertainment is provided through Arts Council England and donations. Throughout the procession, collectors will be around with tins and collection carts accepting donations.