Disappointed Barnstaple Carnival organisers have said there will be no carnival parade this year due to a lack of entries but instead there will be festivities and entertainment on the Strand and Square.
The carnival committee have issued two pleas this summer urging people to sign up for the event’s 75th anniversary, especially float entries, including a recent last-ditch ‘use it or lose it’ appeal.
At a crunch meeting on July 19 the committee regretfully decided there was simply not enough entries to have a carnival procession on Saturday, September 17.
Instead there will be a Barnstaple Carnival Fiesta with live music, entertainment, stalls and activities around the Square and on the Strand, followed by a firework display in the evening.
Barnstaple Carnival chairman Andy Shiner said the entire committee was ‘deeply saddened to take this decision’, especially as this would have been the first carnival parade in the town for three years following the pandemic.
He said: “We are gutted. We made this decision with huge, huge regret but we simply could not leave it any longer and despite the many appeals, we just haven’t had enough response.
“It is unprecedented that this late in carnival preparations people have not come forward - whether that is because of concerns with Covid, or that celebrations had taken place for the Jubilee, or they are just busy with other things, we simply cannot keep holding on in the hope that things will change.
“The day will still go ahead and we hope as many people as possible will come along to the Square and Strand for a day of fun and entertainment before watching the stunning firework display as night falls.
“A massive thank you to all those who had applied to enter the carnival procession and we will be contacting each of you individually to see if you can still be a part of the Fiesta on the day.”
The Fiesta will include live music, street entertainers, stalls, sideshows, street food, candyfloss, four troops of majorettes and cheerleaders plus Barnstaple Town Youth Marching Band.
Carnival Queen Natalie Rudd will be crowned by the mayor and make a journey around the town in the Carnival Coach along with her attendants.
There will be a climbing wall on the Square, a bouncy castle and various boutique stalls, face painting and games of chance.
Children are invited to wear fancy dress and a parade is likely to happen on the Strand.
Mr Shiner added: “We still want to make this day as much of a carnival as we possibly can, with plenty of fun and laughter, so we really hope the people of the town will come out and show their support and join in the fun.
“We still need your help – we’d like to hear from street entertainers, anyone who would like a stall, food and drink vendors and musicians and bands.
“Please do come and support us and we hope next year Barnstaple Carnival can be back with a bigger and better procession than ever.”
If you would like to be a part of Barnstaple Fair Fiesta, as a stallholder or entertainer, or something else, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
North Devon Gazette Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.