BARNSTAPLE Fair starts today (Wednesday) and runs throughout this week until Saturday, culminating in the eagerly anticipated Barnstaple Carnival. The ancient Fair Proclamation Ceremony takes place at the Guildhall from 11am-12 noon, where civic guests, d

BARNSTAPLE Fair starts today (Wednesday) and runs throughout this week until Saturday, culminating in the eagerly anticipated Barnstaple Carnival.

The ancient Fair Proclamation Ceremony takes place at the Guildhall from 11am-12 noon, where civic guests, dignitaries and invited members of the public are guests of the Mayor and the Town Council.

During the ceremony a white glove, decorated with flowers and ribbons, is suspended from a top window, symbolising the open hand of friendship to those who wish to trade at the fair and the thousands attending it.

The Proclamation is read at the Guildhall entrance and then a civic procession makes it way to Severn Brethren where the Mayor will officially open the fun fair, its rides, sideshows and amusements.

Saturday is carnival day and the focus will be around the Square, where live bands will play from 1pm, together with plenty of commercial and charity stalls.

At 5pm Carnival Queen Nicola Church will be crowned along with Carnival Princess Bethany Tippet.

The popular Kidz Karnival will form up a new venue this year, with entrants invited to assemble for judging outside the Heritage Centre from 12.30p and moving off at 3.

The main carnival parade will assemble at the Civic Centre, with judging from 5pm and moving off at 6.

It will head along The Strand and onto The Square, then Belle Meadow, Queen Street, Boutport Street, past the end of High Street and back down North Walk. There will be music at the Square until 8pm.

The festivities close with a firework display over the river at around 8.15 - and then it's off to enjoy the last night of the Fair!

The carnival committee is still very keen to hear from anyone who would like to help out as volunteers on the day. They are seeking parade marshals as well as a small army of collectors to carry collecting tins and buckets to help raise money for charity and the carnival next year.

If you can help, contact committee chairman Arthur Windsor on (01271) 328272 or 07799 722817.