OKEHAMPTON Carnival returns in its full glory this month – back with both afternoon and evening processions after a hitch with organising road closures forced a scaled-back version of the event last year.

This year’s carnival takes place on Saturday, October 21, with the day starting off with a coffee morning in the Charter Hall from 9am until noon. Judging for afternoon classes starts at 2pm in the Okehampton College sports hall, to be followed at 3pm by the crowning of the carnival royalty, queen Charlotte Dell, princess Imogen Dell and prince Joey Mallett by the mayor of Okehampton Allenton Fisher.

The afternoon parade will set off from the college driveway at 3.15pm with the Okehampton Excelsior Silver Band leading the way, followed by the carnival royalty float and then all the children in costume following on foot. The procession goes from Okehampton College along Mill Road and back to the college.

Evening classes will assemble in the same spot from 4.30pm with judging from 6pm, Then at 6.45pm three local pipe bands, from Barnstaple, Bideford and Okehampton, will set off from Mill Road car park towards the town.

These are followed by the carnival procession setting off at 7.15pm, with local firefighters aboard their fire engine leading the procession and entertainer Rob Pudner providing the commentary for the procession from Fore Street.

Karen Penna, one of a team of six who organise the carnival, said the paperwork was in place for the road closures. “Last year was a bit of a nightmare, so this year we have a company called Unique Events organising the road closures for the processions.”

Another change this year, is that there will not be a ‘last appeal float’ for people to throw their loose change into, as insurance will not cover the carnival organisers in case of injury. All is not lost, however, as large purple dustbins put inside prams will be driven through the streets to collect people’s last pennies. Karen said this was a sign of the times.

“The thing is the risk is too high if anyone is injured by falling coins,’ she said.

“The insurance won’t look on it favourably and it could lead to committee members being sued, so this year we have invested in some large purple dustbins and we have got a couple of pushchairs and put the dustbins in the pushchairs and people will be walking at the back of the procession with these.It is a last chance for everyone to get rid of their pennies.”

Karen added that there had been a fantastic number of entries in this year’s charity and business shop window competition, this year on the theme of Celebrations Through the Years.

“We’ve had over 50 businesses and shops taking part in the shop window competition,” she said.

“I think that because people missed out last year they are going all out to support it this year, which is really nice. It is nice to see people working together.”