Posted by Doug (Burnham-on-Sea, United Kingdom) on 21 December 2013 in Lifestyle & Culture and Portfolio.
I'm coming to the end of this series now just a few more shots to go, thanks to all who have stuck it out and added their comments.
Just some background. Burnham-on Sea carnival is one of those that include the carts (floats) and gangs (or clubs) of the Bridgewater Carnival.
The carnival season in Somerset begins with the Bridgewater Guy Fawkes Carnival, which traditionally happened on the Thursday closest to the 5th of November, and goes on to various other towns in Somerset including Burnham-on-Sea. The tradition of Bridgewater celebrating the 1605 gun powder plot is strong, and began with King James 1st decree that bonfires and celebrations should happen all over England every 5th November to celebrate the failure of the plotters to blow up the houses of parliament. Bridgewater entered into the spirit of this with gusto, but when celebrations got out of hand in 1880 with fights between rival gangs the town council banned the traditional bonfire. So to counter that a committee was formed and in 1881 the first procession began consisting people in costume on horse drawn carts using lanterns and candles for light. The Gangs all formed their own clubs and built a cart each year to compete against each other for the prize of being judged the best. This stopped the fighting but today their is still a great competitive rivalry and the gangs all try to keep the theme of their cart secret until the last minuet.
The procession today consists of carts that are lit by thousands of light-bulbs powered by generators towed behind and the procession. Carnival brings thousands if not more visitors to Somerset towns each year, with new ones joining to watch every year. The gangs who build the carts do it without pay and actually contribute financially to build them, some of them costing thousands of pounds to build with the only reward being the honour of being part of it and if they are lucky winning one of the cups awarded annually for the best of each category. Collectors have always gone along with the procession and all the money raised goes to charity. It's believed that Bridgewater carnival is the oldest procession of its type in the world.
Canon EOS 60D