On a bright and sunny day, the hugely popular Witney Carnival and Procession returned after a two-year break to bring a day of joy to everyone in the Oxfordshire town.
The theme for this year’s carnival was ‘Witney: Celebrating HM Queen’s Platinum Jubilee’, as anyone who saw the procession of union jacks, Queen masks and incredibly cute corgis might have guessed!
The carnival is organised by Witney Rotary Club, Witney Lions Club and the Witney Air Cadet Squadron, with any profits made during the day being used to facilitate community projects in and around Witney.
The Carnival represents an excellent example of service clubs working with youth organisations to deliver a summer event for up to 10,000 people.
The procession was a great success, as crowds got to witness twenty eight walking and mechanised floats enter the streets. The prize for the best decorated walking float went to Witney Community Primary School and the prize for the best mechanical float to Queen Emmas School, Witney.
Procession organiser David Lord said: “The standard of decoration was so high that everyone deserved a prize. The enthusiasm and excitement of the children was a joy to see and after missing the last two years due to COVID-19, it really felt that Witney had come alive again.”
In addition to local schools, the Procession included steam engines and marching bands as well as clubs and local organisation dressed in their Jubilee costumes. Thousands lined the streets in the town centre to watch before converging on the Leys for an afternoon’s fun and entertainment
This year there was a stage with groups playing music for all ages, plus wandering musical acts and speciality children’s entertainers performed throughout the afternoon.
There was a funfair and returning elements that are a staple of every Witney Carnival, such as Smiley Train that was busy winding its way through the attractions. Local businesses and traders were also embracing the opportunity to meet with customers and friends.
The President of Witney Rotary Club, Ron Spurs, was also Chair of the Carnival Committee for 2022. He commented: “The Carnival represents an excellent example of service clubs working with youth organisations to deliver a summer event for up to 10,000 people. The Carnival and Procession are free to attend and enter, a family can come along to the Leys in Witney where the event is held, enjoy all the entertainment without having to purchase anything.
“After two years of Covid restrictions the residents and visitors really embraced the Carnival this year. My lasting memories are the enthusiasm and happy smiles of the young people taking part in the Procession.”
The Carnival is the main event in Witney Rotary’s calendar, with planning beginning in October and many club members taking on a variety of rolls.
On the day itself it is a titan effort all members, their spouses and other volunteers to arrange road closures and tale on all the other tasks involved in an event this size and the club is always grateful for the extra manpower they are able to afford through sponsorships.