Picture Gallery: ‘Best ever’ Wells Carnival parade

A week of carnival celebrations in Wells reached a colourful crescendo on Saturday with a procession described by organisers as the town's 'best ever'.

A noisy cavalcade of floats, fundraisers and fantasy characters was cheered on by thousands of onlookers as it left the Buttlands for a route around the town and along the quayside.

Carnival queen Fern Briggs, 17, and carnival king Michael McPolin, 19, waved to the crowds from a classic American limousine at the head of the parade.

Marching music was supplied by the Melton Mowbray Toy Soldiers Band and the Arco Iris Samba Band, who were followed by a kaleidoscope of fancy-dressed characters including the Wizard of Oz, Doctor Who, scarecrows, butterflies and peacocks.

Chairman of the carnival committee Patrick Weston said he believed this year's festival may well have generated the best attendance figures of its 100-year history.

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'Anybody who knows me will tell you this is unbelievable, but I am speechless,' he said. 'Every year we are amazed at the different ideas and costumes, and they just keep getting better. Added to that, the support, the turnout and the number of entries makes all that 11 months of hard work so worthwhile.

'We couldn't ask for more. I am very proud of the community support here – it has got to be the best in England. 'The whole week has been the best ever. We had 3,000 watching Take That 2 on the Buttlands on Friday night, so I wouldn't be surprised if we had 15,000 here today. We had crowds 15 people deep at some points, and they were all smiling, laughing and giving money.'

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Money collected during the carnival will be distributed among local charities at the committee's AGM, with hopes the figure will top last year's total of �3,000.

The carnival crowned a week of activities around the town, including a craft fair, beer festival, wild west night and ugly bugs party. Tribute band Take That 2 played on The Buttlands on Friday night, while ex-Drifters singer Ray Lewis performed on the following evening after the carnival procession.

And the celebrations are due to continue today (Sunday), with a raft race from the quayside at midday, a classical concert on the Buttlands at 2.30pm and an evening of country music in The Maltings at 7.30pm.

?Charity donations can still be made via www.wellscarnival.co.uk.

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