Despite the threat of stormy weather in the build-up to Hatherleigh’s annual Carnival which was held over the weekend of 8/9th November, Carnival organisers who had spent months preparing for the town’s autumn spectacle were determined that the show would go on.
The event was opened on Friday evening by Five Times Nightly, the first live band of the weekend who thrilled a packed audience in the town square.
At 8pm a brilliant turnout of local children dragged the unlit tar barrels through the town from Bridge Street to Oakfield Road.
This was followed by great sets from DJ Pete, Holly Jo, Second Storm and Still Hate Thatcher, a local punk band. The music lasted until midnight, as did the dancing.
Meg Hansen, press officer of the Carnival Committee, was not short in her praise for the dedication and support of all involved in making the weekend a success.
“The Carnival Committee would like to say an enormous thank you to everyone who attended the weekend,” she said, “there was such a fabulous atmosphere throughout, and some even managed to stay dry – well, fairly – most of the time!
‘Thanks to the very talented Helen Cosgrove for her striking woodland/mushroom-themed stage design and to our incredible tar barrel team for their hard work, not just this weekend but throughout the year as well, making the torches, frames and barrel sledges.
‘Another big thank you must go to the wonderful volunteers who helped out over the weekend with stewarding or marshalling, and to everyone who carried the collection buckets. Your support was invaluable.”
Before dawn had even broken, the first flaming tar barrel run of the day blazed through the town on Saturday morning. The weather, and what seemed like sub-zero temperatures, failed to deter the hardy crowd who witnessed this amazing pageant in the early hours.
The Eggesford Hunt cantered off at just gone 11am while the judging of shop windows and decorated houses went on as did the Hatherleigh Town Crier competition.
“Despite a very soggy weather forecast, the children and royalty who took part in the afternoon procession were able to enjoy the crowning of the Carnival Queen, Sophie Reddaway without worrying about rain,” added Meg. “We had yet another great turnout for the main evening procession too, an enormous thirty-strong tableaux, all looked absolutely stunning.”
Fire performance group, the Salamander Fire Collective also entertained spectators, before the crowd were treated to more live music in The Square from DJ Steve, JFB and the Chic Sisters, finishing off with Big Al and the Wild Strawberries. “The Carnival Committee wish to thank our joint Presidents, Ian and Amanda Balsdon,” concluded Meg, “we hope they enjoyed themselves this year as much as we did!”
For the results of all the shop window displays, decorated houses and procession floats visit www.hatherleighcarnival.co.uk