Trevor Stratford writes: Over recent months some people have been asking whether we would be organising carnival again this year.
Through this column, I would like to announce that Dawlish Celebrates Carnival is now well and truly established as a committee and is busily preparing for carnival week – August 12 to 19, something we are all looking forward to.
However, having set the wheels in motion, we are working hard to fund the week.
Most of you will be aware that carnival is a costly business these days. There are very few events that are free and alongside this, costs associated with renting a marquee, PA systems, first aid, security, insurance, etc make for an expensive week. The legal obligations have also increased substantially over the years, along with safety.
Why do I raise these points? Well, while we have a committed group of people willing to make our carnival happen, and are supported by excellent volunteers, it’s a yearlong process, which requires support from everyone in the town to make it all happen.
Which brings me to where we are now. As a new committee, we have had to register with Companies House, establish a bank account and start fundraising.
We have had an excellent start with the Christmas market, charities bingo and a barn dance at Ashcombe Village Hall.
There are more fundraising events planned over the coming months, including ‘pig racing’ organised by the Dawlish Rotary Club on April 28 at the Manor House and a pub challenge around Dawlish on April 29.
We have a brand-new website being developed which will be available shortly. We already have Facebook and Twitter accounts and our own YouTube channel where you can view video clips from Dawlish Celebrates Carnival 2016.
Our next major piece of work is the float. We have obtained one which has had to be completely stripped down back to the metal frame, checked for roadworthiness and then rebuilt, in preparation for the crowning of the carnival queen in May.
The selection for royalty was advertised in the Gazette last week as we not only need a royal party for our parade and events, but to represent us at other carnivals across south and east Devon. It’s a fabulous opportunity for our local youngsters to become involved in something special and support our town.
The selection will be held at the Shaftesbury Theatre on the Saturday, March 11. Doors open 6.30pm.
There will be entertainment throughout the evening. You can obtain application forms from dawlish
celebratescarnival.co.uk or email float
As for carnival week, the programme is already being worked on and the parade will be bigger and better than last year with a finale and light show on The Lawn afterwards. Albeit very early days.
Dawlish is a great town with a great supportive community. I hope you will all be involved again this year and allow us to keep carnival traditional, family-friendly and funpacked for everyone.