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  1. ITV Report

Somerset carnival season: Everything you need to know

Carnival clubs have been working around the clock to be ready in time for the event. Credit: ITV News

It's that time of year again! Thousands of people in Somerset are set to hit the streets of the county's towns and villages because carnival season is underway.

Saturday night will see Wellington packed for the event that kicks off the South Somerset circuit. The Wessex circuit has already got going.

It's a jam-packed season lasting more than a month.

More than 2,000 people will be involved in last year's Bridgwater carnival procession. Credit: ITV News

Here's your guide to the key dates to make sure you don't miss out:

  • 28th Sept: Wellington
  • 5th Oct: Ilminster
  • 11th Oct: Wincanton
  • 12th Oct: Chard, Castle Cary
  • 19th Oct: Taunton
  • 2nd Nov: Bridgwater
  • 4th Nov: Highbridge & Burnham on Sea
  • 8th Nov: Weston-super-Mare
  • 9th Nov: North Petherton
  • 11th Nov: Midsomer Norton
  • 13th Nov: Shepton Mallet
  • 15th Nov: Wells
  • 16th Nov: Glastonbury
The carnival is said to add £4million to the local economy. Credit: ITV News

The unmissable ones:

  • Bridgwater marks the start of the Somerset County Guy Fawkes Carnivals - this is the biggest, most prestigious circuit!
  • Although Bridgwater is big and famous, the other carnivals on the Guy Fawkes circuit are just as proud of their history. Glastonbury, which is the final carnival, attracts crowds on the same scale as Bridgwater.
The Bridgwater Carnival is said to attract more than 150,000 visitors yearly. Credit: ITV News

What's it all about?

Many consider the Somerset Carnivals the highlight of the year, and one of the most exciting displays of amateur entertainment anywhere in the world.

Every year, brilliantly lit and decorated 'carts' travel from town to town, putting on exciting displays for thousands of delighted spectators.

The processions is part of an ancient tradition, which stretches as far back as the 1600s when parts of Somerset commemorated the Gunpowder plot.

After Bridgwater's procession there will be a display of ‘squibbing’ in the town centre. Credit: ITV News

It takes months of planning, fund-raising, and building so clubs start working almost immediately after the season ends.

As well as working behind the scenes, many members double up as characters during the events.