THE countdown has begun to the fun filled festivities of Combe Martin Carnival week, staring on Saturday with an action-packed opening night. With the main carnival parade on Wednesday of next week (August 11) and the exciting wheelbarrow race on Friday,

THE countdown has begun to the fun filled festivities of Combe Martin Carnival week, staring on Saturday with an action-packed opening night.

With the main carnival parade on Wednesday of next week (August 11) and the exciting wheelbarrow race on Friday, August 13 plus plenty of daily events in between, one of the region's biggest carnival celebrations is back with a vengeance.

Opening day takes place at Hollands Park and begins at 3pm, with fun and games for the whole family including the junior wheelbarrow race.

The official opening will take place at around 6.45pm and then there is a free night of live entertainment with Music in the Marquee from 7-11pm, featuring Basil's Blues Band, High Child and The Drop.

On Sunday the thrills and spills of big carnival raft race will take place at the beach. There will be kayak and junior races from 5pm onwards in the run up to the senior raft race at 6.45.

On Monday at Hollands Park the Fairy Queen choosing will take place from 6pm, followed by a family disco.

Wednesday's parade will assemble in all its glory from 6-6.30pm at the very top of the village and set off at 7.30, with the usual eagerly anticipated inventive and topical mix of large and small floats plus colourfully costumed walkers.

The wheelbarrow race is always billed as a mini carnival and features hordes of costumed revellers pushing their customised contraptions from the top of the village to the seafront. Entrants are asked to assemble from 6.30-7pm and the race starts at 8.

A grand firework display at the beach at 9.30pm will close proceedings. Carnival programmes are available throughout the village at £1 and include entry into a £1,000 prize draw. Or visit www.combemartincarnival.com for more information.