Posted by elsie katz on Sun, 15 Oct 2017
It started on time (!) and this year the route went from the bottom end of town to the top. Our predictably surprising Exmouth Carnival. Floats, walking groups, individuals, three towns of glitz and twirl majorettes. If only majorettes had been around when I was nine. It's about rhythm, and dancy pop and baton twirling and showing off in little seaside town carnivals. It's 'we' not 'I', winning trophies as a troupe, not straining to notch up exams. So much easier and more fun than ballet.
As always there are the overpriced light stick gizmos and helium balloons sold from the stalls and mobile hawkers.'Fiver.' 'Mum, plee-eze'. I moaned in the past when the light sticks cost two quid. Moaned and paid up,the price we have to pay for being seaside town parents of small children. One year the little'un even got a helium pony. Exmouth carnival is for one night, where do the hawkers go after that? I guess they are fairground people who circuit the carnivals and get a hawkers licence from every town council. Carnival would not be the same without then.
Where does it all come from? Ancient tales, our dreamtime images sometimes staying close to the original, sometimes given a Disney update. The fear taken out of horror and superstition, the dark night made light by colour, costume,family and community. 'Omigod it's Beelzebub' shouts a little boy behind me. Beelzie is a girl of about 8 in the girl guide Halloween/Disney themed walking group. The Three Little Pigs Float was awesome, three trailers with dancing adults pink pigs, the houses of straw, clay and brick. The big, bad grey toothy wolf was in front. It was massive, the jaws were eight foot wide.
Devon children are often taught to be shy and polite before they reach primary school. 'Don't stand out, don't make a show of yourself.' Carnival is the ancient permitted antidote.
Rock on! Don't Stop the Carnival.