Wilton Community Carnival
Over the past few years, since 2006, under the chairmanship of Gary Nunn, Wilton Carnival has grown from a few stalls to a large family event, right in the centre of Wilton. It is well thought of and well supported by the people of Wilton and surrounding area and attracts several thousand people each year. The Carnival starts with a daylight procession through the Town, usually a warm sunny day on the first Saturday in July, with plenty of colourful themed floats, walkers, marching bands and Wilton’s Mayor and Councillors. Other Mayors from Wiltshire are also invited and always attended which gave the procession a good figurehead.
The town overflows with spectators who follow the procession into the carnival field for a fun afternoon. Wilton is lucky enough to have a large recreation field right in the middle of town and this has been the home of Wilton Carnival for many years since it began in 1949 until 2013, when it was moved to Wilton Shopping Village. There have been many changes since those early days and its latest incarnation in 2006, when it was renamed “Wilton Community Carnival” has proved very popular with everyone and is now the biggest event in the Wilton community calendar.
Among the many attractions, are the stalls from local charities and organisations, providing them with an excellent platform to promote themselves and to raise funds. In 2014 the event returned to Wilton Shopping Village. The committee insists that the event remains free to the public as this is one of the most popular attractions, but achieving this gets harder each year as the costs of staging an event like this continually increases. However, a great deal of good will has been generated over the years and generous sponsorship from local businesses has managed to keep the Carnival alive each year.
Gary Nunn resigned after the 2015 Carnival after 10 years as Chairman.
It ran as usual in 2016 at the Shopping Village, having been set up by Gary Nunn before he left, under the leadership of Jayne Paessler-Whatley and Pete Hayes. It was fine and sunny and lots of people attended and enjoyed the event.
The following year, it was taken on by Trevor Dacombe, who combined it with the new Touch Rugby Festival and it returned to Castle Meadow and despite some heavy rain was a good success and set up a sharing idea.
In 2018, combining the Touch Rugby Festival and the Carnival, there will be a host of fun events, held again, mostly in Castle Meadow. The extra events during the week include a Pub Quiz, Teddy Bear Weekend, Wheelbarrow race, Music night and the Carnival Procession has been revived with a theme of “All Around the World” loosely connected to the World Cup of 2018.
Wilton, the ancient capital of Wessex, is a quintessential English market town with a history spanning more than 2,000 years. The town gave its name not only to Wiltshire but also to the famous Wilton Carpets, which are still made there today. Click here to visit the town’s website.
Wilton lies three miles west of Salisbury, nestling in the junction of the Wylye and Nadder river valleys. Market day is Thursday and, with cash points and free parking, you have easy access to the wide range of traditional, family-owned shops, pubs, cafés and other services. Within a short walk of the Market Square and St Mary’s Ruin you will find the famous Italianate Church (above) and a delightful river walk along the Wylye, running from St John’s Square through the Flouse Hole conservation area to Castle Meadow. Combine this with Wilton House and the factory outlets of Wilton Shopping Village and you have a unique and varied day out for families of all ages.
Wilton House, a major English country house is also situated at Wilton. The house has been the country seat of the Earls of Pembroke for over 400 years. The house is renowned for its gardens — Isaac de Caus began a project to landscape them in 1632, laying out one of the first French parterres seen in England. Wilton House is often described as England’s most beautiful country house.
Ten miles west of Salisbury at Fovant, the famous regimental badges can be viewed from lay-bys on the A30. Travel further west and you will find Tisbury, with its own railway station, situated on a steep slope beside the River Nadder. From here you can discover the bloodthirsty past of Old Wardour Castle, as well as simply taking time to explore some of Wiltshire’s loveliest villages and footpaths that surround it.
Finally, seven miles to the north is The World Heritage site Stonehenge, one of the most famous sites in the world.