The autumn illuminated carnivals of Somerset are one of the county’s best-kept secrets. Somerset carnivals commemorate Guy Fawkes’s attempt to blow up Parliament in 1605. By coincidence, the man who led the prosecution of Guy Fawkes and his associates in January 1606 was Sir Edward Phelips who built Montacute House near Yeovil, now owned by the National Trust.
Carnival is one of the most special and unique features of Somerset’s autumn season. The Bridgwater Carnival is believed to be the largest illuminated carnival in the world and attracts more than 150,000 people each year. A huge amount of time, effort, considerable creativity, and sheer engineering go into each carnival float. Somerset carnivals also comprise wonderful costumes, music, and dance routines, some are accompanied by bands and majorettes.
These events are organized by the community for the community. Putting on a carnival is a costly exercise and each carnival society needs to raise between £5-8,000 through fundraising and the support of local businesses. The bureaucracy has increased in recent years and has made the whole venture more costly and complicated and has unfortunately contributed to the demise of some carnivals, Yeovil being one.
The principal benefit of Somerset carnivals is the money raised for local charities and the business it brings to the towns involved. They also bring local communities together and create a wonderful atmosphere and, quite literally, brighten up those autumn months!
22nd Sept: Frome, 7 pm
29th Sept: Wellington & District
6th Oct: Ilminster, 7.30 pm
13th Oct: Castle Cary, 7.30 pm
13th Oct: Chard, 7.15 pm
19th Oct: Crewkerne,7.45 pm
20th Oct: Wincanton, 7 pm
20th Oct: Taunton, 7 pm
9th Nov: Bridgwater, 7 pm
10th Nov: North Petherton, 7 pm
12th Nov: Highbridge & Burnham-on-Sea
14th Nov: Shepton Mallet, 7.30
15th Nov: Midsomer Norton, 7.15 pm
16th Nov: Wells, 7.30 pm
17th Nov: Glastonbury, 7 pm
19th Nov: Weston-Super-Mare, 7.15 pm