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Dulverton Carnival calling it a day
A TRADITION which began in Dulverton more than 150 years ago may have taken its final bow.
The organisers of Dulverton Carnival have cancelled this year’s event after dwindling numbers of floats being entered in previous years.
Keith Ross, of the management committee, said: “The carnival has really shrunk over the last three years, with fewer than ten floats in the last two years, despite the committee offering £100 for people to put floats together.
“I think, like so many rural communities, we are lacking enthusiasm from young people because, as soon as they are old enough to think about it, they go off to university and so on.
“We need young people to be active in our community.
“We relied for a long time on up to five young farmers’ clubs who had competitions among themselves.
“They have been very good over the years, but I think there were only two last year.
“My wife, Jan, and I were among those who revived it in 1979 – it had stopped in 1957 after about 100 years. At its peak, in those early days after it re-started, it attracted up to 30 floats and 4,000 spectators.
“It brought people from across the moor and beyond to the town.
“We are all saddened it’s not going to happen – it is really disappointing.”
The carnival always took place on the first Saturday in October and, being a night-time event added on extra expense.
Mr Ross added: “It costs quite a lot to put the carnival on – about £2,000, which was mostly raised from the previous year’s street collection.
“We just felt that the work that goes into it and the output didn’t warrant it. That’s what it camedown to at the end.
“There is a bank account with some money in should anyone want to revive it but it would need a younger group of people with an interest and a drive to do it.
“We have been much the same group for most of the 33 years since it was started again, and we are 33 years older!”
With no information put out about the carnival this year, people have been asking whether it is going ahead.
Dulverton Mayor, Cllr Nick Thwaites, said: “The town is obviously going to miss the carnival.
“It has been quite a good crowdpuller business-wise and also brings the community together.
“From the town’s point of view, it’s sad to lose the event after such a long time but, unfortunately, with the number of floats entered recently it is understandable.
“It’s such a shame but when there are just five or six floats after volunteers put somuch time and effort into organising the carnival, it’s disappointing for them as well as for people who turn up.
“Maybe not having it will resurrect the interest – like many things, it may not have been fully appreciated until it is gone.”
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