When I first moved to Wells back in 2000 I had no idea that Somerset played host to the largest illuminated carnival in world! Imagine that – in sleepy Somerset – in November!
That first year it was lashing down with rain and so I decided to stay at home in the dry with our 1 year old whilst hubby Jeff took our 4 year old.
When he came back his words were “you will not believe it” – yes just like Victor Meldrew!
Since then we have gone, rain or shine, because it really is the most incredible event. The work that has gone into creating wonderful floats is amazing and is all done by people on a voluntary basis.
No one gets paid as all the money raised goes to local charities.
You get the loud, noisy all-singing, all- dancing floats; the everything-on-the- float-moves-and-jigs-and-swirls floats; the tableaux floats where everyone is stock still; and the just plain silly floats. And in amongst the enourmous floats pulled by beefy tractors you get a little girl walking along in a fairy dress.
The reason Somerset towns are able to be treated to such a fantastic display every November is simple – team work.
Creating and decorating a float takes a large team of people You need people to design, construct, paint, sort out the electrics, drive, make costumes, help with makeup and then entertain the crowds on the 12 carnival nights. It takes time, dedication and motivation to see it through. So much so that clubs start planning the next year’s float the minute a carnival season is finished.
Also one town could not provide the resources to put on such a show – either in terms of money or the huge number of man hours it takes to create the floats.
So each town has a number of carnival clubs building floats and they converge on towns in succession throughout the month.
Surely the lesson from Carnival is this: if you work together, as a team of dedicated, enthusiastic, and hard working people, each playing to their own strengths in putting together a well planned project, anything is possible – even if it pours with rain throughtout the big event!