BRIDGWATER CARNIVAL GUIDE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
BRIDGWATER Carnival kicks off tonight and is set to dazzle crowds with its colourful carts. Known as The Guy Fawkes Carnival, this year’s event is expected to attract more than 100,000 people to Bridgwater from around the West County, Britain and abroad.
The historic carnival – which dates back as early as 1847 – is now famous as the biggest illuminated procession in Europe.
The main procession will see carts follow a 1.7 mile route through the town, taking approximately two hours to complete.
The start of procession will begin at 7pm at Bath Road before passing through the Cross Rifles Roundabout, Monmouth Street, Broadway, Taunton Road Junction, St Mary Street, Cornhill, High Street, Penel Orlieu, Mount Street and then Northgate.
The carnival organisers have confirmed the route will be same as previous years meaning you can still stand at your preferred spot with friends or family.
But if you want to get the best views, you must arrive early to beat the queues and avoid fighting your way towards the front.
Spectators can expect at least 40 illuminated carts – each up to 30 metres long – packed with lights and dancers performing as well as musical acts.
The large vehicles pay homage to popular children’s books and films, historical moments and places.
The carnival ends with the famous act of squibbing – where a group of people light stout poles in the shape of brooms and fireworks shoot out.
The act is in celebration of Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators failing to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
This year’s event will start at 6:35pm – with a carnival pre-procession – and will end roughly around 10.30pm.
The Grand Squibbing Display will start 15 minutes after the procession finishes at approximately 10.45pm.
There are limited car parking options in Bridgwater but your best bet is to park in the larger St Matthews Field and Bridgwater College car parks.
Motorists travelling through Somerset on the M5 this weekend are being warned of congestion because of the event.
Drivers are also advised that access into Bridgwater from Junction 24 will be closed from 6pm tonight.
Gareth Price, Highways England emergency planning officer for the South West, said: “The carnival is a popular event in the South West and can lead to increased traffic volumes between Junctions 24 and 23 of the M5, particularly between 5pm and 7pm and from 9pm onwards.
“We advise all people planning to use the M5 on Saturday evening to allow extra time for their journeys, listen out for radio updates and to check our traffic and travel information channels.”
See Monday’s Western Daily Press for the best of the pictures and news from the weekend’s big event.