Ottery’s two biggest events could still go ahead

Ottery Tar Barrels 2019. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Ottery Tar Barrels 2019. Picture: Alex Walton Photography - Credit: Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Ottery’s Tar Barrels and carnival could still go ahead this year, thanks to an ‘absolutely fantastic’ grant from the town council.

Ottery Carnival 2019. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Ottery Carnival 2019. Picture: Alex Walton Photography - Credit: Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Following the £7,500 award, one or both of the events could be held, depending on the Government’s Covid-19 guidelines nearer the time.

Event director Ashley Franks said: “At the moment no decision’s been made on whether the events will take place.

“That will take place much nearer the event dates, taking into consideration the Government guidelines at the time, also advice from East Devon District Council and the blue light services.

“We have safety advisory group meetings, and from those meetings and the Government guidelines the committee will make a decision nearer the date.”

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Mr Franks said he wanted to ‘publicly thank’ the town council for approving the grant at its meeting on Monday, July 6.

“The grant application was outside their guidelines, and it’s great news that they accepted it in extraordinary times, and let the application go through, and unanimously agreed to support it.

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“It’s great to know that you have the backing of your town council.”

Mr Franks accepted that the Tar Barrels, with its surging crowds and roller-coaster atmosphere, could be difficult to stage if social distancing rules are still in place.

But he said a carnival would be easier to control, and could take place without the Tar Barrels.

Seven of the eight carnivals on the East Devon circuit were called off in May, but Ottery’s committee held off making a decision on theirs, scheduled to take place on October 31, towards the end of the carnival season.

“We appreciate that no-one’s been making floats this year, but we could still have a walking procession” he said.

He added that despite the loss of fundraising income during lockdown, money will not be a problem.

“There was a shortfall, but the £7,500 from the town council will certainly help fill that gap.

“We still have to do some fundraising but it’s well within our reach, so we’re not concerned with the funding issue at the moment,” he said.

“Everybody in the community wants the events to go ahead and, fingers crossed, they can go ahead, but the decision will be made nearer the time.”

Take a look at the Herald’s galleries from last year’s Tar Barrels and Carnival.

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