It’s Carnival Time with Liz Barry

All photography by Liz

1Liz never misses an opportunity to photograph festivals and fiestas when on her travels. This time last year she only had to go as far as Somerset to find plenty of photo-opportunities as they celebrated their Guy Fawkes Carnivals.

Somerset County Guy Fawkes Carnivals are some of the world’s largest illuminated winter carnival processions, each lasting over two hours. They date back almost to the Gunpowder Plot itself in 1603 and appear to have started in 1605 in Bridgwater. Today celebrations are held in many of the larger towns in Somerset and are on a huge scale with some of the floats costing £40,000 and taking a year to build.

Last year I travelled to North Petherton to see their winter carnival. This year it falls on Saturday 12 November and celebrates its 67th year.

North Petherton’s Carnival was first held in the 1880s, but seems to have ceased by the turn of the century. After WWII it was revived by a local resident with the Enid Blytonesque name of Mr Bunny Wheatley, and the carnival of 1949 was a huge success.

2The Carnival has grown over the years and attracts entries from all over Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Wiltshire. Thousands of spectators line the processions route through the towns and come from as far afield as Wales, Cornwall, the Home Counties, the Midlands, Manchester and Yorkshire. It is a wonderful experience – the atmosphere is electric as the music from the floats fills the night.

Bay TemplateYou can’t fail to be mesmerized by the intricate and amazing colour, costumes and vibrancy of the passing floats and the still tableau themes created with so much imagination and hard work. Apart

from the parades in Disney World, you will probably never see anything like it – it certainly brightens up the beginning of winter.

If you want to see any of the parades you will find more information on: or




  • Bridgewater – Saturday 5 Nov
  • Highbridge and Burnham on Sea Monday 7 Nov
  • Weston Super Mare Friday 11 Nov
  • North Petherton Saturday 12 Nov
  • Midsomer Norton Monday 14 Nov
  • Shepton Mallet Wednesday 16 Nov
  • Wells Friday 18 Nov
  • Glastonbury Saturday 19 Nov


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