Thursday, 31st July 2014

Countdown to carnival

A small and dedicated committee are busy preparing for this year’s popular Shrewsbury Carnival, and with just five weeks to go the organisers are on the lookout for as many people to come and support the event as possible.

It will take place on Saturday, June 18, and this year’s theme is Victorian fun and games to tie in with the first three-day Shropshire Olympian Festival being organised by Shropshire Council.

And in celebration of the 1864 Much Wenlock festival which went on to inspire the Olympics we recognise today, its founder William Penny Brookes will be among the crowds on carnival day together with Queen Victoria – so keep a look out!

Gill Puttock, carnival secretary, told the Chronicle that carnival queens, kings and princesses from other towns were being sought to attend this year’s event and join in with the procession.

“We are encouraging people to dress in Victorian costume, but they won’t be turned away if they don’t,” she said.

“This year’s Shrewsbury Carnival queen and her attendants will be in a horse drawn carriage during the parade, which will be led by the junior town crier and town crier Martin Wood.

“Shrewsbury Carnival is the biggest one-day free event in the county. All of the money we raise from the carnival is given away to local charities and voluntary groups and last year we gave away about £6,500.”

There will be lots of fun for all the family in the Quarry from 10am-5pm, including a martial arts group, Whitchurch dogs agility, musical performances from pupils at The Wakeman School, Tywyn Silver Band, donkey rides, local craft stalls and handmade produce and a Victorian fun fair. Meanwhile, The Ironmen and Severn Gilders morris dancers will perform in The Square.

Charities are actively encouraged to apply to have a stall in the Quarry. The pitch costs £10, but any money made on the day the stallholder will be able to keep.

Anyone interested needs to register for a vehicle pass. Contact Julia on 0781 411 3156. Stalls need to be set up from 8am and removed by 5.30pm. There will be a prize for the best decorated charity stall in keeping with the theme.

The carnival parade will get under way at 2pm from the Quarry and will follow the one-way system round the town.

The parade is the highlight of the carnival with its colourful floats, lively procession, dance troupes, bands and music. Ten floats have been entered so far and organisers are keen for more people to get involved, either by submitting a float or joining the parade on foot.

Entry into the parade is free and collecting tins will be provided.

Despite regularly attracting up to 5,000 people every year, in the past numbers on the organising committee have dwindled putting the future of the carnival in doubt.

But Gill stressed that this year’s 10-strong committee is coping well and she urged any willing volunteers who might like to get involved to step forward.

Gill and her husband, Graham, chairman of the committee, will resign from their roles after this year’s event after five years in their respective positions. They will still remain a part of the committee, but a new chairman and secretary will have to be elected.

“We always need new ideas and people to come along and help,” said Gill. “There’s a great atmosphere on the day, it’s light-hearted fun but it is also raising money for charity. Any dance groups and musicians who want to come and give a demonstration in the Quarry and who would like to perform should get in touch.”

For more information call Gill Puttock on 0797 380 3067 or email getinvolved@shrewsburycarnival.co.uk before June 10. Application forms for entry into the parade can also be downloaded from the website www.shrewsburycarnival.co.uk

By Charlotte Hester