I would agree with Barry Randall, treasurer of the Christmas Lights Committee, that something is missing from the Victorian evening. I also believe that the same can be said of the Portishead carnival. Whilst I absolutely respect and value the work put i
I would agree with Barry Randall, treasurer of the Christmas Lights Committee, that something is missing from the Victorian evening.
I also believe that the same can be said of the Portishead carnival. Whilst I absolutely respect and value the work put into both events by many people both organising and taking part, mixing commercial and community isn't working.
Numerous local groups and charities charge a reasonable amount on their stalls, the proceeds fed back into the community either financially or through the work that the fund-raising enables them to continue to carry out. The same cannot be said of many of the fairground rides and commercial traders of tat that rarely survive the celebration. I would be genuinely interested to know how much they pay for pitch fees; it is easy to see what sort of profits they make.
As a mother of two children going to either event poses a dilemma. To take part in the carnival procession or watch the Christmas lights switched on and get out fast, or spend an hour or two turning down invitations to buy light-up head boppers or to pay £2-£5 per child, per three-minute ride. However I would happily stay and pay the average rate of between 20p and £1 to a stall that is supporting Portishead Porters, local scout groups, schools, Portishead Skatepark Project, etc., and would happily forgo any change.
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Along with many others, I have no problem with fairgrounds and occasionally being ripped off for a couple of minutes of fun and a stupid toy but would prefer this not to be whilst supporting my local community.
May I suggest that in future the Christmas Lights Committee locates the fairground rides and commercial traders at the show field, keeping the High Street open to all local groups and charities? The carnival could also keep the fairground, commercial traders, beer tent and music stage at the show field whilst creating a family festival event at the Lake Grounds, including all local groups and charities and an invitation for families to take a picnic. This would allow all Portishead residents to make a choice of how they want to spend, what has been in the past and could be again, a fantastic community event.
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I happily pledge my support in rekindling the true ethos to either of these two events.
Cllr Liese Stanley, Portishead and North Weston Town Council