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Childhood memories of the family treat we enjoyed for many years for my younger brother's birthday always come flooding back when it's carnival season and the fair is in town. Bideford Carnival is always a rather ragged assortment of Carnival Queens and Princesses... majorettes... a few floats that are thinly disguised advertising for local businesses... lots of pushy parents and for the last 15 years the wonderful Massed Pipes and Drums. It is always really well supported by the local community, it is great fun and a lovely evening's entertainment.

We loved the Jurassic Park Float last night, with the pterodactyl carrying someone away by the shoulders at the front of the float and "It's a MONSTER" playing plenty loud enough to compete with the Pipes and Drums!

As a family we visited Bideford fair and carnival every year in the 1970s, (always the week of my brother's birthday on the 9th September) and in my teenage years I graded up to the much bigger Barnstaple fair and carnival held the following week, Stupidly, I thought it a good idea to relive my youth and revisit the fair in the 90s when pregnant with my first daughter. What a mistake! A whirling, spinning ride, I believe might have been called The Scrambler, made me sick like I couldn't have believed possible and many people below had to run for cover. It amused my brother and husband enormously but put me off fair grounds for life! But carnivals, that is entirely different...

Bideford Carnival this weekend was a delight, not big and blousy like the infamous Bridgewater Carnival but a real coming together of the local community. Over the years I have been Alice in Wonderland; Jess from Toy Story; a witch; a jam tart; Little Bow Peep and more... but have not joined in for a few years. As President Elect of Bideford Rotary Club, I was for a few hours inspired to try and get the club to put together an entry next year! Hmmm, we'll see...


For the 15th year, hosted by Bideford Youth Pipe Band, there was also a gathering of Pipe and Drum bands from far and wide. Having become quite a tradition, whole bands (and enthusiastic individuals who make up a marching band together on the day), from all over the Westcountry meet at Bideford on carnival night. They fill some gaps between floats by marching the carnival route, then in a special MASSED PIPES AND DRUMS along the Bideford Quay perform many traditional tunes and show off their marching skills as individual groups and all together to raise the roof (or would have if it hadn't been such a clear night). It was spectacular, loud and colourful. More so even than the wonderful firework display at the end.