The 55th 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.


This year’s Miss Taunton, the Carnival Queen, Sabrina King and Carnival Princess Jemima Gee will have pride of place in their Izzy Stockton gowns near the front of the Procession – a long wait since being chosen in January 2020! They’re travelling in a 1935 Austin Light 12/4 open road tourer kindly provided by

Terry and Jenny Vowles. Taunton’s Carnival Royalty were “on parade” in the other South Somerset Federation Carnivals courtesy of Marshall Audi.


Floats and walkers depicting themes ranging from Tropical Paradise to Gangster Grannies will wend their way along the mile long route, taking about an hour to pass any one point. Over the last three Saturdays Wellington, Ilminster and Chard have hosted the Procession with the majority of entries appearing there proudly showing off the costumes they’ve spent weeks bringing together. 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.



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



To start Carnival day off Tone FM will join the Carnival Committee around the Market House with a Tombola and promotional activities



Taunton Carnival Committee puts in all the hard work organising the Procession for two main purposes – to provide a spectacle in the town’s calendar of events and to raise money for local charities. With no fundraising for two years, and a lean year this year the street collection is very important.


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 £1 or 50p coins into the collection 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.”


This year people can also give using Tap & Pay and QR codes. 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.



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 town centre will be closed at 6.30pm so the Procession Route can be cleared of traffic before the crowds move in to line the pavements.


Through traffic is directed away from the centre to keep it moving and to keep a clear access to Musgrove Park Hospital. The official east-west diversion is via Priory Avenue, Trenchard Way, Staplegrove Road, Silk Mills Road and Wellington Road.


No vehicles will be able to leave 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. There will be an alternative route out of the Wood Street area via Cleveland Street and French Weir Recreation Ground.



The Carnival Committee works very closely with all the Emergency Services to make sure everything on and off the Procession route runs smoothly on Carnival night. 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.



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 “There are different challenges every year. We work closely with the Emergency Services, County Highways and Somerset West & Taunton Council in the Safety Advisory Group. Everything is recorded in the Event Management Plan so we can deliver the Procession safely for all involved.”


“Our ambition is always to give to our charities everything that we collect on Saturday plus a little bit more. It’ll be no surprise to anyone that our costs for background things like insurance, medical cover and health and safety have gone up tremendously. Carnival is not a cheap event to put on. We organise the annual Marathon & Half Marathon and 10k road races earlier in the year to bring in the money we need. 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. 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

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