Carry-On Carnival

Cold & wet, but still colourful & cheerful. Drummers returning from the rain-soaked Hedge End Carnival

Hedge End’s Carnival went ahead despite the atrocious summer weather this afternoon.

The unseasonal heavy rain, which the Met Office attribute to the Jet Stream misbehaving, was at its heaviest of the day during the carnival procession, but the route was still lined with onlookers and the display of umbrellas was said by those riding on the floats, to be every bit as colourful as the floats themselves.

Earlier in the day, the Hedge End Carnival Committee had issued a statement on their website which read;

“We are still going to be here for anybody prepared to brave the weather, but bring your wellies and an umbrella”

The entrants who were unfortunate enough to be walking round the carnival route were undoubtedly the wettest at the end of the procession, but all seemed jolly as they were walking back to the assembly point. One stilt-walker, still smiling and pleased to be photographed commented to Eastleigh News that the rain had revealed an unforseen problem. The extra weight of his increasingly wet trousers had caused them to keep slipping down as he walked round the route…

Stilt walker with troublesome trousers

The rain caused other problems too, with the MaracaJacks float becoming stuck in the mud at the St Johns Rec assembly point, having to be towed out by St Johns Ambulance, the tow-rope breaking and carnival stewards and onlookers eventually managing to push the float out.

St Johns Ambulance attempting to rescue the MaracaJacks float. Photo Mrs C Murphy.

Eastleigh News also understands that a vintage tractor that was part of the procession proved very useful in extracting another float that had become bogged-down. Later in the day, the evidence of a difficult departure was still there to be seen… 

St Johns Rec after the Carnival had left

The traditional finishing point, Greta Park, was also a quagmire, but the Carnival Stewards wisely improvised an alternative finishing point, with the floats stopping in Upper-Northam Road instead of venturing onto Greta Park and getting stuck again.

Speaking to Eastleigh News, at the entrance to Greta Park, Cllr Jane Welsh said

The rain has been a problem and takings will be down this year, but I’m pleased that so many people turned out to support the Carnival.

Cllr Sheila Baynes added;

All of the floats and stall-holders that we were expecting to turn out, turned out. The Rotary Club couldn’t set out quite as they had planned and consequently didn’t sell much. Overall, despite the rain it has been a good carnival.

When asked if the proceedings had gone smoothly, the local Police said to Eastleigh News;

We’re pleased to see the tradition of Hedge End carnival still continuing after 91 years. The Carnival Committee do a great job and make it very easy for us to Police with the limited resources that are available to us.

Despite the weather, spirits were good all round with many happy faces to be seen underneath umbrellas as the onlookers headed home, to dry out… 

Road closures disrupted the normal flow of traffic through the Town Centre, but the Centenary clock, recently repaired, was telling the right time, approximately...!

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site.