2023 Jiggle Junior CC


To start Carnival Day we will have stalls outside the Market House from 10am to Noon with Tone FM to launch our first Carnival Program for many years, with a tombola stall, and a visit from Cllr Nick O’Donnell, the Mayor of Taunton.



The 56th Annual Illuminated Procession moves off this Saturday at 7pm sharp from the bridge in Tangier Way and down into Wood Street. It turns right into Bridge Street before going up through the town centre into East Street and down over East Reach to the Finish line on Chritchard Way.

Robes and chains will be much in evidence at the front of the Procession with our Mayor and Mayoress walking the route accompanied by the High Sheriff, the Chairman of Somerset Council and the Mayors of Axbridge and Wellington with their consorts.

Floats and walkers depicting themes ranging from ‘Just Another Day in Hollywood’ to ‘Buffalo Creek’ will wend their way along the mile long route, taking about an hour to pass any one point. Wellington, Ilminster and Chard have hosted the Procession over the last three Saturdays. The majority of entries appearing there proudly showed off the costumes they’ve spent weeks putting together and now bring to Taunton. As well as being out to entertain the crowds they are competing in a dozen different classes for coveted local trophies, and points towards the overall South Somerset Federation awards. Carnival is full of friendly rivalry so holding the cups aloft in front of the competition can be more important than the prize money!

Bringing up the rear will be the one vehicle the organisers hope not to need – a Breakdown Recovery unit kindly provided by Frost Rescue from Bridgwater. If all goes according to plan this should cross the finish line at about 9.15pm.



You can pick your own winners on the night. The Public Choice competition voting will be on Facebook. All the votes from the four South Somerset Federation towns put together will decide the best float and best walking entries.




Taunton Carnival Committee organises events throughout the year, culminating in the Procession, for two main purposes – to raise money for local charities and organisations and contribute to town’s social calendar.

During the evening Procession there will be dozens of Official Collectors on the ground. Please empty your pockets and give them a busy and successful night. The reward for performers and event organisers alike is to see all the collecting tins full and piles of coins on the lorries. Treasurer Roz Swinburne commented “If everyone put in £1 or 50p coins we’d easily have a record collection! Of course we don’t mind what coins or notes come our way but we do need a lot of them please. We’re happy if it takes us all day Sunday to count it.”

People can also give using QR codes and Tap & Pay. The codes will be displayed on posters around the town as well as on all the collecting tins. Some collectors will have Tap & Pay machines.




Carnival is a big undertaking and attracts thousands of spectators into the town centre. To get the Procession safely through some roads need to be closed. Castle Street between the entrances to Tangier and Castle Street car parks and Tangier Way down to the junction with Wood Street will be closed to traffic from 2.00pm to allow all the entries to assemble and get ready for the evening’s show. Access to Tesco and Lidl will not be affected. Enfield car park will be closed all day.

The route through the town centre will be closed at 6.30pm between at Bridge Street and Chritchard Way so it is clear of traffic before the crowds move in to line the pavements.

The official east-west diversion avoiding the town centre is Priory Avenue, Trenchard Way, Staplegrove Road, Silk Mills Road and Wellington Road. Access to Musgrove Park Hospital is available at all times via the diversion or using local knowledge.

Vehicles will not be able to move from Wood Street, Yarde Place, Haydon Road or Victoria Gate on to the route whilst the Procession is taking place, between 6.30pm and around 9pm. Traffic form the Wood Street area can get out area via Cleveland Street and French Weir Recreation Ground.

All Somerset Council car parks except Enfield are open as usual. The Orchard Multi-Storey will close at 7pm. Exit from Victoria Gate will not be possible until East Reach has been reopened after the Carnival. Wood Street has an exit route via French Weir Recreation Ground. Supermarket and retail area car parks will operate under their usual rules and time restrictions.

Taunton Town Football Club’s car park is open for the evening on a fee basis.




Planning the Carnival is a round the clock activity for the Committee, with much of the work behind the scenes. Carnival Secretary John Lewis said “We work closely with the Emergency Services and Somerset Council in the Safety Advisory Group. Everything is recorded in the Event Management Plan so we can deliver the Procession safely for all involved.”

There are Marshals all along the route to keep an eye on spectators and make sure the Procession passes safely. These are closely supported by local Police, with St John Ambulance crews from across Somerset around the route in case of accidents to participants or spectators alike. Senior staff from the Emergency Services and other Agencies come together with the organisers in a joint “Control Room” where they are ready to co-ordinate action should anything unforeseen happen. The Carnival Clubs all have safety guidelines and good practice notes to follow to keep their members safe.




Chairman Marilyn House says “We’ve had sponsorship and support from lots of local companies over the years for many of our activities. Without them none of this would happen and we are especially grateful to Taunton Town Council for their sponsorship this year. We’ve also brought back a Carnival Programme with a lot of help from advertisers. No-one will be surprised costs for background things like insurance, medical cover and health and safety across our major events have gone up tremendously. Without all the volunteer entrants, marshals and collectors giving up their time there would be no events – so we say a big ‘Thank You’ to them all. What we need to cap it all now is good weather and full collecting tins this weekend. Please dig deep to help us keep the Carnival tradition alive in Taunton.”

If you’re interested in helping on Saturday, as a Marshal for the Procession or a Collector, please contact us at info@tauntoncarnival.co.uk

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