Watton Carnival cancelled as summer events clash

Watton Carnival Parade in 2011. this year's June event will not take place. Picture: Ian Burt.

Watton Carnival Parade in 2011. this year's June event will not take place. Picture: Ian Burt. - Credit: IAN BURT

Almost 90 years of summer tradition in Watton has come to an end after organisers confirmed the town's June carnival has been cancelled.

The annual spectacular, which attracts hundreds to the town, has been parading through the streets since 1924 and was due to take place on June 9 this year.

But the carnival committee said it had decided to cancel the day – which sees live music, a procession, and stalls run by local businesses and groups – because another event with months of planning behind it had been organised in the town later in the month.

There is a chance the carnival could happen in August or September, but nothing has yet been confirmed.

The Watton Town Team, set up in May last year to look at ways of regenerating the high street, has organised a classic car rally for June 23.

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That event and the carnival would need permission from Norfolk County Council to close the High Street.

A County Hall spokesman said there were concerns about closing the High Street because it is a B-road with a poor diversion.

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But he emphasised the council had always gone along with road closures for the Christmas Market and Watton Carnival as they were 'two important and long-standing local events.'

The spokesman said that because the Town Team had made an application earlier than the Carnival, as well as being well into their planning stages, the four-strong carnival committee had decided to cancel June's event.

Cheryl Clayton, secretary of the carnival committee, said the Town Team had been organising its event for months. It would have had to have cancelled the car event if the carnival committee had pushed ahead with its plans.

She said: 'We didn't think it was fair as they [the Town Team] had done so much work.'

But she said the feedback from the community when they heard the news about the cancellation had prompted the committee to think about having the carnival either in August or September, but nothing had been confirmed.

Chris Edwards, a businessman and chairman of the Watton Town Team, said he had been involved with the carnival for many years and was sorry it had been cancelled.

But he explained his team were 'a long way' into the planning of the car event.

He said: 'We are genuinely unhappy for the town that the carnival committee felt the only option was to do what they have done.

'We hope they will take the opportunity to take another date.'

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