Sunshine and crowds at Chobham Carnival

AFTER days of dreary weather, the sun shone brightly to draw thousands of people to attend Chobham Carnival on Sunday.

The event’s organisers were uncertain that the crowds would turn up for the village’s biggest event of the year, held in September for 2021 instead of on the usual May Day Bank Holiday.

Rapt attention from the audience for the Punch and Judy show

But, after a year in which most fetes and shows were cancelled for a second time because of the pandemic, the carnival attracted people from Chobham and surrounding communities.

“We were delighted at the numbers who turned up, and people were arriving throughout the day,” said carnival association chairman Dave Took. “And, this year, they were incredible generous with their donations at the gates.

Phoebe won a prize for having the most impressive hat of the St Lawrence Primary School apprentice morris dancers

“Our buckets usually fill up with coins and a few notes but there were a huge number of £20 and £10 notes this year, far more than in previous years. I think people were really glad to be able to come and enjoy a good day out after having little to do for more than a year.”

Chobham Rock Choir assembled by the main entrance as the gates opened, to welcome carnival-goers with their first public performance for many months.

The main attraction in the arena was the Vander Brothers Space Wheel – “superhero” acrobats mesmerising the crowd with their antics in and on top of four large drums spinning around a central axle.

A team of young people from Horsell-based Prime Acrobatics drew loud applause for their fast-moving display and Zoot involved children and adults in his juggling and unicycle act.

An innovation from the Chobham Morris Dancers was a performance by pupils of St Lawrence Primary School in Chobham, who had been coached in the traditional folk dancing art.

Dozens of organisations, from Chobham Museum to West Byfleet Guides and Brownies were at the carnival to run stalls and sideshows for their first fundraising opportunity since the beginning of last year.

The superheroes who performed on the Vander Brothers Space Wheel pose for a photo before their first act

Many of the groups usually enter the carnival procession, which was not held this year because coronavirus restrictions made it difficult to plan and construct floats, with the possibility of a last-minute cancellation because of rising coronavirus cases.

The carnival proceeds, which pay for the following year’s entertainment and provide grants for local charities and good causes, were being counted yesterday (Wednesday).

“We are hoping that we will have several thousand pounds to donate at our grant-making meeting later this year,” said Dave. “Judging by the money in the collecting buckets and the fees from the stallholders, refreshment concessions and the funfair, we will have somewhere near the usual £5,000 in our fund.”

The association is aiming to stage a full-scale carnival on Monday 2 May next year, with the fundraising ball also returning on the previous Saturday.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Editorial Team