I HAVE always said that Lyme Regis loves a good parade and if there was anything that could lift our spirits after the past 15 months, it was the welcome return of carnival night.
Carnival in Lyme Regis is not quite like carnival in our neighbouring towns – there’s no dazzling floats covered in a thousand lightbulbs that travel from miles away to take part.
This is a community event through a through; a chance for family, friends and local organisations to let their hair down, be silly, dress up, dance and forget everything else. I often wonder what visitors must make of it all.
The town was buzzing as the carnival procession returned for the first time since 2019 last Saturday night; I can’t remember the last time there was a collective feeling of such high sprits and excitement.
Over the following days there was much talk in town about how great it was to “get back to normal”. Only in Lyme Regis could you call dancing down the street in fancy dress “normal”, but a great night it definitely was.
In the week leading up to the procession I heard a few whispers of concern that COVID scares and a lack of time for organisations to prepare may have resulted in this year’s event being a quieter, more scaled-back affair.
But they couldn’t have been more wrong; the procession was one of the best seen in recent years, and definitely one of the noisiest!
After taking photos of all the entrants at the starting point in Holmbush car park I headed down into the town centre and how wonderful it was to see the huge crowds lining the streets, the anticipation build as the thud-thud-thud of carnival night music drew closer and closer, familiar faces gathering outside the Volly to cheer on friends in the procession, and children waving at their favourite characters in costume as they finally appeared in Broad Street.
This is Lyme Regis’ version of “normal life” and I don’t think we’d have it any other way.
The procession topped off a successful programme for Lyme Regis Regatta & Carnival Week, with organisers delighted with the turnout and popularity of many of the events.
Residents and visitors have definitely proved that they were more than ready to let their hair down this summer, with all of the town’s major events and festivals overwhelmed with support in recent months.
In just one other example, I was over the moon this week to finally hear the result of Lyme Regis Football Club’s Sausage & Cider Festival, which I helped organise at the end of July – we made a record breaking profit of more than £13,000, which puts the club in fine form for the coming season.