L to R: 2008 Queen Samantha Footman, 2009 Carnival Queen Sally Kirk, 2009 Princess Natalie Slaney and (front) 2009 Rosebud Chloe Hunt.
Dateline: 21 November 2009
At a meeting on Tuesday evening, Bloxwich Carnival Committee held its Annual General Meeting during which the date for next year's Carnival was agreed and elections held for the coming year's Committee, which now includes Bloxidge Tallygraph publisher Stuart Williams. At the meeting, the Chairman, Ken Worley, also paid tribute to carnival programme editor George Jevons, who has retired after many years sterling service. He also acknowledged the hard work of the Committee and the many supporters of Bloxwich Carnival, including the Carnival Queen and her entourage, officers of New Deal/New Horizons, Walsall Council staff and members of Bloxwich Rotary. The Chairman's report for 2009 will be made available for download from the carnival page shortly.
Despite the disastrous weather on Carnival day this year which inevitably resulted in a significant drop in income, the organisation is still in good shape to maintain the traditional event, in part due to increased sponsorship (notably from Walsall Housing Group) and planning has already begun for next year.
The worst blow to Bloxwich's premier annual event in 2009 was however the need to cancel the parade for the first time since the Carnival's re-launch in 2000. This was caused primarily by increased costs for road closures, transport shortages and health and safety red tape which made it impractical for the parade to continue.
Sadly, this also forced the signature moment of the event, the crowning of the Carnival Queen, Princess and Rosebud, a tradition going back decades, to be moved from its much-loved location by Bloxwich Fountain in Promenade Gardens to the King George V Playing Fields. Together with the loss of the parade round the village (replaced by tableaux in KGV) this resulted in a loss of passing trade and the event's popular central focus.
Despite this, the Carnival was able to concentrate on King George V Playing Fields with some excellent stalls and attractions, and all went well despite damp conditions until an incredible deluge from the skies in the afternoon put paid to much of the fun, forcing an early conclusion - see our full illustrated report for more via this link.
Good news however was that there were a record number of entrants for the Carnival Queen contest, won this year by Sally Kirk, and the all-important senior citizens party was highly successful, possibly even the best since 2000. Again, record numbers of fine Young Ambassadors representing local primary schools plus a quality programme and Pat Collins Fun Fair maintained the high standards expected from the event, now one of the largest Carnivals in the West Midlands.
Despite the problems on the day, which were out of the control of the organisers, those who attended the 2009 Bloxwich Carnival still thoroughly enjoyed themselves, as did those attending on a similarly wet day in 1959! All this just goes to prove that you can't keep Bloxwich folk down!
It is hoped that something special can be arranged in the village centre, possibly in Bloxwich Park, to reinstate the central start of the Carnival next year, though it is very unlikely that the parade can be revived under present circumstances.
The 2010 Bloxwich Carnival will take place on Saturday 7 August. The Bloxidge Tallygraph will be strongly supporting the event as usual - we hope you will too!