FARNHAM CARVIVAL - A BRIEF HISTORY

The origins of Farnham Carnival may be lost in the mists of time. We do know, however, that there was a Carnival Parade in Farnham as far back as 1923 and even have some splendid photographs of the procession from the event more than 90 years ago. Please excuse the quality they are 90 years old but just look at the crowds in Castle Street!

                                                     Historic Photos

 

Subsequently the idea of a town carnival in Farnham seems to have faded away - maybe due to the outbreak of war in 1939. Move on a few years however and in the 1960s Farnham Town Council (then Farnham Urban District Council) ran the Farnham Show, an annual event which took place in Farnham Park.

It was also at this time, around 1969 or 1970, that Farnham Lions became involved for the first time, when we discussed with the council the idea of bringing back the concept of a town carnival.

Farnham Lions seized upon this exciting new opportunity to create a major high-profile  event for the whole town - and all the fun and colour of Carnival was quickly established once again as an annual event. Then, as the Town Show ceased, Farnham Lions also took on the running of the Carnival Fayre, now held in Gostrey Meadow.

In the Millennium year, 2000, Hedgehogs joined forces with Farnham Lions to help run the twin events. Since then, the two service clubs have continued to be the main drivers of the Farnham Carnival Organising Committee, in putting on what is the biggest event in the town calendar.

 

New routes, new themes

As the following photographs show, in the 1960s those taking part in the Carnival used to start in Upper Hart, process around the town and then up Castle Street, ending up in Farnham Park, the site of the Farnham Show. More recently however, the route has altered, with the Carnival Procession now starting and finishing in Upper Hart.


Float in Castle Street Lions Rally Car

 

Another thing which has changed over the years has been the desire to add greater excitement, by giving Carnival a different focus each year.

Back in 1923, it's not clear that the Carnival had any specific theme, other than for "everyone to have a good time!" Since 2000 however, the Carnival Committee has tried hard to come up with innovative themes, providing wide scope for participants to interpret in many novel and creative ways.

Over the past 16 years, the themes have been as follows:

2002 Celebrating the Queenís Golden Jubilee 2003 Farnham Past and Future
2004 Around the World 2005 The Magic of the Sea
2006 The Beauty of the Seasons 2007 Our Colourful Planet
2008 The World of Entertainment 2009 Myths and Legends
2010 Fashions through the Ages 2011 Farnhamís Got Talent
2012 Be A Sport 2013 Itís Show Time
2014 Letís Go Safari 2015 Waterloo
2016 Disney, Superheroes and Fairy Tales 2017 A Day at the Seaside
 2018  ROCK AND POP LEGENDS    

And with "Rock and Pop Legends" as the theme for 2018, we are certain that Carnival 2018 will be as colourful, varied and enjoyable as ever, for participants and spectators alike!