Hopes are fading that Weymouth Carnival will be resurrected in future

Today marks the day in which Weymouth Carnival would traditionally have been getting underway – the third Wednesday in August.

This is the first year the carnival – once billed as the largest community charity fundraising carnival on the south coast – has not been held for more than 60 years.

While the funfair has set on the seafront as usual, there will be no carnival attractions such as the Red Arrows, fun beach games, the grand parade or the fireworks finale.

Despite its absence, community groups and a former carnival organiser says the summer extravaganza still still has a place in the town.

The new town council has also shown interest in working with those who want to bring it back in the future.

There had been hope the carnival might be saved and run next year after Weymouth Rotary Club stepped in to take it on.

This was after the former organisers had to pull out amid a financial crisis.

However, a decision by the Weymouth BID board not to pledge £40,000 from its budget to help the Rotary Clun run the carnival meant it wasn’t to be.

Rotarain Dennis Corbett said: “We were originally approached by a member of the BID who asked whether the Rotary club would be interested in running the carnival, so we went back to the club and they said yes.

“The main difficulty was the financial stability of running the event from scratch, so we needed financial support.

“We suggested to the BID that we would need £40,000 for the first year, then £30,000 for the next year and so forth.

“The BID board, when it had time to think, said the financial commitment was too big to take on and we said, that’s fair enough.

“It’s the first time for more than 60 years, that it won’t have run, so it’s a damn shame.”

Mr Corbett added: “When the carnival was run by Rotarians previously the financial situation in the country was a whole more buoyant than it is now. Attracting sponsorship from businesses was a lot easier.”

Claudia Moore, Chief Operations Officer of Weymouth BID, said: “£40,000 was too much and we didn’t feel it offered anything particularly new and modern. My personal view is that carnival needs updating.

“In our business plan we also have to focus on all year round events rather than summer events when the town is already busy.”

She said despite the loss of the event, the town has had a positive summer, especially in terms of events.

Ryan Hope, a local councillor, is a former carnival chairman.

He said: “There’s a place in the town for the carnival, but it definitely needs to be revamped.

“The community as a whole, including businesses, would need to step forward to support it.”

He added: “A lot of people have been contacting me saying I need to get it going again.

“I still think there will be a few holidaymakers turning up and not realising that it’s been cancelled.

“I also think that food outlets in town will notice it this year, while hoteliers will probably feel the pinch next year.

“A lot of people thought Pride would take its place, but they’re two completely different events.”

A spokesman for Weymouth Town Council said: “We were very saddened to hear that the group of local volunteers who had been organising the Weymouth Carnival were unable to do so this year.

"We are very keen to work with groups and volunteers who want to bring it back in future years.”