The 54th Illuminated Procession moves off this Saturday (19th Oct) at 7pm sharp from the bridge in Tangier Way and down into Wood Street. It turns right into Bridge Street before going up through the town centre into East Street and down over East Reach. The public performance and judging ends at the junction with Wordsworth Drive.
The spectacle begins with a cavalcade of the ever-popular Harley Davidson motorcycles parading around the route to ‘warm up’ the crowds. This year’s Miss Taunton, the Carnival Queen, Carlie Perkins and Carnival Princess Grace North will have pride of place near the front of the Procession looking extremely regal in their gowns, cloaks and tiaras.
Feature, Tableau and Comic floats will eclipse the street lights with their dazzling displays using hundreds and hundreds of light bulbs interspersed between the wonderful walking entries. Apple FM will also be part of the line-up once again so look out for us. The Procession will take just over an hour to pass any one point on the mile long route.
DURING THE DAY
On Saturday morning Historic Cars and Harley Davidson Motorcycles will process through the town centre in convoy before forming up in High Street. These are always an attraction to both young and old and plenty will cast an envious or rose-tinted eye over them.
Children can join in the Mask & Hat Competition being held at the Museum of Somerset from 11.00am to 2.00pm.
QUALITY CARNIVAL MERCHANDISE
The Carnival Committee will be selling Official Carnival Merchandise this year during the day in High Street and during the Procession. Visibly branded Official Sellers will be out on the streets selling high quality ‘light-ups’ and toys. Committee Chairman Marilyn House said “We want to keep as much of the public’s money in the local economy. To do that we’re selling Quality Carnival Merchandise ourselves and encourage spectators to buy from the Official Sellers during the day and from the two Official Lorries in the evening. Many spectators won’t realise that other traders and pedlars come from outside the area and none of their proceeds goes to Taunton Carnival or local charities at all.”
Taunton Carnival Committee puts in all the hard work organising the Procession for two main purposes, to provide a spectacle in the town’s calendar of events and to raise money for local charities which this year are Taunton Opportunity Group and Taunton Street Pastors.
During the evening Procession there will be dozens of Official Collectors on the ground. Please empty your pockets and give them a busy and successful night. The reward for performers and event organisers alike is to see all the collecting tins full and piles of coins on the lorries. Show your appreciation by getting rid of all that loose change any old £1 coins you find down the sofa. Treasurer Roz Swinburne commented “If everyone put £1 or 50p coins into the collection we’d easily make up for last year and more! Of course we don’t mind what coins or notes come our way but we do need a lot of them please. We’re happy if it takes us all day Sunday to count it.”
The carnival APP returns for a second year, this is where you can vote for your favourite entries. The CarniApp can be downloaded for IOS and Android devices. Voting will begin at 7pm on Saturday 19th.
ROAD CLOSURES AND TRAFFIC DIVERSIONS
Castle Street will be closed to traffic between the entrance to Tangier and Castle Street car parks as will Tangier Way down to the junction with Wood Street from 2.00pm to allow all the entries to assemble and get ready for the evening’s show. Access to Tesco and Lidl will not be affected, but Enfield car park will be closed all day.
The town centre will be closed at 6.30pm so the Procession Route can be cleared of traffic before the crowds move in to line the pavements.
Through traffic is directed away from the centre to keep it moving and to keep a clear access to Musgrove Park Hospital. The official east-west diversion is via Priory Avenue, Trenchard Way (NIDR), Staplegrove Road, Silk Mills Road and Wellington Road.
No vehicles will be able to leave Wood Street, Yarde Place, Haydon Road or Victoria Gate on to the route whilst the Procession is taking place, between 6.30pm and around 9pm. There will be an alternative route out of the Wood Street area via Cleveland Street and French Weir Recreation Ground.
The Carnival Committee works very closely with all the Emergency Services to make sure everything on and off the Procession route runs smoothly on Carnival night. There are Marshals all along the route to keep an eye on spectators and make sure the Procession passes safely. These are closely supported by local Police, with St John Ambulance crews from across Somerset around the route in case of accidents to participants or spectators alike. Senior staff from the Emergency Services and other Agencies come together with the organisers in a joint “Control Room” where they are ready to co-ordinate action should anything unforeseen happen. The Carnival Clubs all have safety guidelines and good practice notes to follow to keep their members safe.