To those in the know Bridport Carnival ranks as one of the best in the south west and with a tradition that dates back more than 100 years it is something the town obviously embraces with enthusiasm.
Although the town records carnival processions from the early 1900s it wasn’t really until 1971 when the re-launched carnival became recognisable as the event it is today.
And for more than half that time it is carnival chairman Shaun Fox and his committee who have been responsible for putting it on.
Mr Fox said: “Last year we had Arthur Dyke from the South West Carnival Newsletter turn up. I told him I thought Bridport was probably one of the best community carnivals in the south west.
“A month later the newsletter came out and at the bottom of the report was his verdict: “I can’t disagree with Shaun’s claim that Bridport Carnival is one of the best community carnivals in the south west. It is comments like these that keep my passion for carnival alive after 27 years on the committee.”
Mr Fox also paid tribute to his committee members, volunteers and companies who support the now week-long carnival events.
He said: “I want to say a big thank you to our committee for the work they all put in to arrange Bridport Carnival.
“Without the volunteers we have there would be no show.”
There are some changes to carnival this year with carnival entries now congregating in West Road and moving off at 7pm, instead of lining up in St Swithin’s Road.
To add to the festive atmosphere the Wessex Military Band will play in Bucky Doo Square in the morning.
Also new this year will be the events leading up to the procession – the family bingo, quiz and darts competition will all be held during carnival week itself.
The procession on Saturday, August 16 will be followed by a family disco in the Conservative Club and dancing in Bucky Doo Square. Then on Sunday the hugely popular torchlight procession from the town hall to West Bay will leave at 9pm.
Gill Crump from the fancy dress shop called Instant Redress, which has just moved into bigger premises in East Street, said interest in the carnival in the last week had really heated up.
She said: “The themes seem to be quite varied this year but it is nice to know that a lot of youngsters seem to be coming through to do it. And that’s very comforting to know and hopefully means the tradition will carry on. So hopefully it is all very healthy and raring to go.”
This year there are more than 50 shops in the town taking part in the ‘misplaced article’ competition thanks to the hard work of Betty Scadding.
Forms are available from AG Down, 66 South Street, and should be returned there. The prize is a £10 voucher.