There is something beautiful about the way so many communities in East Devon mitigate the fading of summer by celebrating local life through joyful, district-wide carnival processions.

In 2020 and 2021 these were made impossible by Covid and all the restrictions around that period of time. In 2022, a number of carnivals made a comeback, brilliant nights, but in the case of Colyton my home town emotionally touched by the then recent death of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

2023 has felt like a fantastic return to the good old days, however. So far, we have had Seaton, Colyton, Axminster, Sidmouth and Budleigh Salterton. (Also taking a passing moment to doff a medieval cap to the Colyford Goose Fayre.)

Still to come are Exmouth, Ottery St Mary and Honiton. And if you have any energy after that set your watch for the 4th November and the as ever magnificent Ottery St Mary Tar Barrels.

I’m going to show a little favouritism here by saying that from a range of epic floats appearing at the carnivals, the funniest was Colyton’s own Nunsford Nutters titled “I’m not a Pheasant Plucker, I’m a Pheasant Plucker’s son”. Sung for about an hour without a break as the float made a couple of circuits of the town, it included a bonus ten minutes of unrivalled entertainment when the float was stuck in the centre of Colyton behind another which had broken down.

The singers never missed a beat, and - on their marooned float adorned with images of pheasants, proudly wearing their pheasant costumes - they kept belting it out, until a tractor pulled the stalled float out of the way and they passed on serenely out of Market Square and off down South Street.

The crowd absolutely loved every minute of the procession, from the smallest walking float to the triple-length masterpieces up there with Disneyland. I am absolutely pathetic on these occasions, unable not to think of the unseen hours of hard work and late-night graft from volunteers, and always find myself slightly choked.

Like all traditions, the future of carnivals cannot be taken for granted. The burden of organisation can all too easily fall on just a few individuals. So, if you have a carnival near you and have a few hours you could devote, do please get in touch with your local organisation. I know for a fact that many are putting on brave faces but are really struggling. But meanwhile, to all participants and organisers, thank you for so many great occasions this year as the leaves begin to fall from the trees.

Carnival is one of many examples of creative and cultural activity across East Devon. Is it a bit pretentious to say that? I don’t think so. The skill in set design, costume design, and musical accompaniment absolutely fit that description - the easy to overlook engineering and mechanical design aspects too.

In the last couple of weeks, East Devon District Council has gone further with our still relatively recent work via our Arts and Culture East Devon (ACED) project. We have launched a “Creative East Devon Fund”. We are paying for it from the UK’s “Shared Prosperity Fund” so it sits nicely alongside our usual work emptying bins, running local planning etc and isn’t costing the ratepayer anything.

It’s a £25,000 pot in Round 1, and you have until 1st November to apply. A second round will open next April. Sarah Elghady our Cultural Producer can advise at and to read more please just go to the EDDC website and look under latest news. It’s all there.

Meanwhile, good luck Exmouth, Ottery and Honiton for more fun as the nights draw in.