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Weymouth Carnival parade set to stretch to more than 100 floats
Weymouth Carnival is preparing to welcome back its floats in style with more than 100 preparing to take part.
With just four months to go, the town’s summer showpiece is gearing up to be bigger and better than ever before.
This year organisers are hoping to be back with a bang with the return of the floats after a two-year absence.
There was an outcry after the traditional motorised procession was scrapped in favour of a walking parade.
But local Rotary clubs stepped in to take over the running of the event with the promise that traditional favourites, including the floats, would return.
Businesses and local organisations have rushed to sign up for the procession and organisers say there will be more than 100 taking to the streets on August 18.
Some organisations have already started work on their floats but there is still time for interested parties to sign up to take part.
Other attractions proposed by the carnival committee include aerial displays from the Red Arrows, the Red Devil Parachutists, Breitling wing walkers and the Best of British display team, including a Lancaster bomber, Hurricane and Spitfire.
They are also hoping to have old favourites including the lifeboat air sea rescue display.
The budget for the displays currently stands at £15,000. The carnival committee also hopes to launch Chinese paper lanterns from the pontoon in Weymouth Bay, as well as have the spectacular firework displays.
Procession organiser, Shaun Hennessey, said: “We will have a minimum of 100 floats and it will be very noisy, with lots of bangs and noise. We are working on the music, as last year it was very quiet. We are going to make the music the main point.”
He added: “We are hoping to have stationary bands standing along the route. There’s no theme this year, it’s just going to be ‘welcome back’.”
This year the floats will be following a different two-way route, which was last used in the 1970s.
Starting at the Pavilion, the procession will make its way around the back of Alexandra Gardens, along the Esplanade to Westerhall before returning on the seafront to the Pavilion.
It will mean participants will be in the town centre at the end rather than being left out at Lodmoor as in years gone by.
Organisers are expecting between 80,000 and 100,000 visitors to watch the carnival.
Carnival Float Club organiser and one of the key voices in the campaign to bring back the floats, Jan O’Brien, said: “I think this year’s going to be really spectacular. We are so excited. We are so passionate about it. Every time I see anything to do with the carnival I get all tingly.”
The procession will start at 6.30pm, which will mean that everybody will be in the town centre for the firework finale which will take place a little while after.
People shared their comments, ideas and memories about the carnival from years gone by to revamp the carnival for 2010. The carnival queen will be announced on the morning at a special ceremony.
The Carnival Ball will be held on Saturday, August 21, at Nothe Fort, with a black tie dress code.
Discussions are under way to see if this year should have a theme to the ball such as Oscars night or Hollywood.
For more information about the carnival visit www.weymouthcarnival.co.uk
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