CARNIVAL may be a thing of the past without huge financial support from the community, organisers have warned. 

In an impassioned plea to save the hugely popular event, a group behind the project has forecast Weston Carnival may not survive another year if spectators 'do not dig deep'. 

For 53 years the modern illuminations spectacular has graced Weston on its tour of Somerset where around 25,000 people gather from far and wide to fill the streets. 

But the festival has seen a huge shortfall in donations year-on-year to a point where it must now secure £30,000 just to stay afloat.

At 7pm this Friday (November 11) will be the first time since the start of the Covid pandemic that families can enjoy the two-hour pageant.

Weston Mercury: Weston Carnival.Weston Carnival. (Image: Archant)

But 2019 also saw 'one of the worst years' yet for donations from carnival-goers. 

The year prior also saw just £7,000 raised through the sales of programmes, seats and bucket collections. 

It's hoped that if everyone who visits the carnival next week, all donate just £1, its future can be saved, said Weston Super Carnival Committee chair, Jan Matthews.

The 72-year-old has been helping to organise the event for many years but fears the committee will struggle to find new blood to keep the show running for generations to come. 

She said: "The free-to-watch entertainment can be taken for granted and many don't realize just how much hard work and money goes into making this fabulous event happen. 

"It's all operated by volunteers, clubs and societies and we get nothing in return. 

"Covid has really prevented us from raising funds, meeting together and getting stuff done and because we were unable to show for the past two years, it now means some groups haven't been able to raise the money it costs to make a cart - there are about three carts that usually run every year in Weston and they've now been forced to walk.

Weston Mercury: Weston Carnival.Weston Carnival. (Image: Archant)

"The simple fact is if we have a bad collection this year, we simply won't run the next."

Each cart costs around £25,000 to build with group fundraising throughout the year.

In Weston, collectors are also awarded 50 per cent of the total funds raised so only half goes back into the carnival.

Jan added collections used to raise around £20,000 each year which kept the event in good stead, but the group is now lucky to raise £12,000 after the show.

This year will see a slight route change that avoids a turn on Alexandra Parade and instead follows north on Alfred Street, from Locking Road, and left into the Boulevard and south down Royal Parade. It finally stops outside Adventure Golf on the seafront. 

Weston Mercury: Weston Carnival route 2022.Weston Carnival route 2022. (Image: WC)

It's also the first time Weston will see a Carnival Village at the Italian Gardens with a bar, music and a close-up view of the parade.

The first out this year will be the Jubilee cart, made by more than 200 members in Somerset, which was used for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June. 

Weston Mercury: Weston Carnival.Weston Carnival. (Image: Archant)

Weston is a host town for one of the biggest illuminated parades in Europe and oldest carnival in the UK - the Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival.

It celebrates Guy Fawkes’ attempt to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on November 5, 1605.

King James I decreed that the events of November 5 should be commemorated annually with the lighting of bonfires, a tradition still held today. People once paraded through the streets on horse and cart, giving its name. 

This year marks the 417th anniversary of The Gunpower Plot.

Weston also once held its own summer carnival shows in years gone by but it ceased in the 1980s after failing attendance.

Weston Mercury: Weston Carnival QR code for donations. Weston Carnival QR code for donations. (Image: WC)

People can raise money this year by card using a QR code which can be found on the carnival's Facebook page or its website at

Programmes can be purchased for £2 at various sites in town including Tesco supermarket, High Street McColl's, The Royal Hotel and The Spar in Grove Village.