Carnival cancelled for next year

PORTISHEAD’S calendar will be missing one if its most popular and successful events in 2013 after organisers of the town’s carnival decided to take a year off.

Jemma Cooper and Wendy Watkins, who organise the event which this year saw thousands of people taking part in the procession or events, say they need a rest after spending 10 years at the helm.

The duo stepped in to run the carnival after it was in danger of dying out due to lack of support.

Over the past decade, with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers, the event has grown into one of the biggest carnivals in North Somerset with a huge procession winding through the High Street and well-known bands and acts on the town’s show field.

Every year, proceeds from the event goes to local charities and organisations including Portishead Christmas lights.

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This year, to celebrate their 10th anniversary, a two-day event kicked off in spectacular fashion on June 15 with the world famous Red Arrows performing a display over the Lake Grounds. The next day the town’s High Street saw some of the largest crowds ever watching the procession, despite heavy rain.

Jemma and Wendy say it took more hard work and money than ever to make this year such a success and have decided to take a break to re-charge.

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Jemma said: “Lots of big events such as Glastonbury Festival and the Bristol Kite Festival take a year out from time to time. It is very common in the event industry.

“Carnival costs around �10,000 to stage and this year there was the added expense of �13,000 for the Red Arrows.

“It takes a huge amount of work and money to do these things properly and this year, although absolutely wonderful, it was extremely tiring and more expensive than normal. It is likely we will hold a series of fundraising events in 2013 instead.”

With the weather against them this year, Jemma and Wendy had to redesign the entire show field site plan for health and safety reasons and also had the task of fending off rumours the event and Red Arrows would be cancelled due to the wind and rain.

Wendy, who was eight months pregnant at this year’s extravaganza, said: “The last 10 years have been amazing but very hard work. A year off will give me precious time with my new baby too.”

The pair have thanked everyone who has helped and supported them over the past decade, confirming that without doubt they will be back in style in 2014.

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