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11 things you might not know about Weston-super-Mare carnival

PUBLISHED: 14:00 11 November 2016

Weston carnival.

Weston carnival.

Archant

Carnival will return to Weston today (Friday) and the streets will be packed with excited onlookers ready to see what dozens of carnival clubs have to offer. The carnival is a much-loved tradition in the town, but how much do you know about it?

1. The annual carnival celebration – featuring a parade of illuminated carts – dates back to the gunpowder plot of 1605, with the first carnivals taking place in Bridgwater.

2. The earliest records showing details of a carnival in Weston-super-Mare date back to 1871. The parade would begin at Knightstone Island and weave its way through almost every street in the town before ending on the beach – where bonfires would be lit.

3. In World War Two carnivals in Weston – and across Somerset – were cancelled and did not begin again until 1969.

4. As recently as the 1970s animals were allowed to be part of the parade – so horses, huskies and oxen could all be seen playing their part in carnival.

5. 100,000 people are expected to come out to watch the carnival this year.

6. There will be 130 entries in this year’s carnival, 50 of which will be large floats.

7. The famous illuminated floats can be as long as 100ft and almost 20ft high.

8. Coach companies bring people from Wales, the Midlands and even as far north as Yorkshire to watch Weston’s carnival.

9. The carnival raises thousands of pounds every year which are spread between dozens of good causes working in Weston-super-Mare and across Somerset.

10. Carnival clubs spend the 12 months leading up to the parade preparing their float – with some carts costing more than £20,000 to put together.

11. Illuminated carts normally have between 10,000 and 30,000 light bulbs on board – that’s a lot of electricity.

* Check out our preview of Weston-super-Mare carnival here, and see an image gallery of Burnham-on-Sea’s carnival here.

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