By Helen ffitch
High winds and rain couldn’t dampen the spirit of Swanage Carnival 2023 and there were plenty of times over the eight days of entertainment when the sun shone on the organised chaos.
The carnival from Saturday 29th July to Saturday 5th August 2023 attracted thousands of visitors to Swanage in Dorset, alongside plenty of locals taking part in events and enjoying the live music.
The carnival started on Saturday with glorious sunny weather for the new We’re a Knockout competition on Sandpit Field which was an instant hit attracting lots of local teams.
On the following day it rained in the morning but just before the procession was due to start it miraculously dried up, allowing the floats to parade through the streets as planned.
On Wednesday most of the day’s events were wiped out by gales and heavy rain but the awards for the photo marathon went ahead as did the fireworks in the evening.
This meant that Friday ended up as a bumper day with Wednesday’s events including the gymnastics and the dog show moved to Friday, alongside the vintage car show.
The live music remained extremely well attended with crowds packing the main marquee at Sandpit Field every night through to 11 pm. On Thursday late afternoon and evening the EHM event successfully took place at Prince Albert Gardens, overlooking the bay
“We are really quite unique!”
Secretary of Swanage Carnival, Kevin Langdon said:
“The carnival is becoming the biggest event on the South Coast with so much free entertainment over eight days – we are really quite unique!
“There was lots of rescheduling due to the weather but plenty of entertainment indoors to keep a smile on everyone’s faces.
“However we did get lucky with the weather on key moments of the carnival – the three nights of fireworks, the procession on the Sunday and the wheelbarrow race on the Friday, so we can’t really complain!”The marquee is dismantled for another year with secretary of Swanage Carnival, Kevin Langdon
New ideas for next year
Kevin Langdon added:
“We’re already thinking of new events and new ideas for next year – the planning for 2024 has already started!.
“Many think we get paid for organising and running the carnival but we are all volunteers and we welcome more people to get involved. There’s plenty of roles for people to do and it needn’t be a huge commitment – there’s lots of little jobs that can make a big difference!”
Swanage Carnival will be back next year from Saturday 27th July to Saturday 3rd August 2024.
The Swanage Carnival Biathlon gets underway
Eyes down in the marquee for bingo
Sway All Stars dance Sunday evening away
Three evenings of fireworks all went ahead as planned
Dancing in the street during the procession
Last year the carnival, which took place over eight days of continuous sunshine, raised a record of £29,150 for local good causes and there are hopes that despite the more variable climate, the same amount will be able to be distributed to charity again.
All dressed up for the start of the wheelbarrow race around the streets of the town.
Looking forward to 2024
Photo Credits: Andy Lyons, Nadine Hudson-Featherstone and Claire Richards