There is so much ready made entertainment on TV these days that the old tradition of the Carnival seems to have dwindled to the point of almost becoming extinct.
The older Wales holiday visitor will no doubt recall the days when a summer holiday more often than not meant the opportunity of watching, if not taking part in, a town or village carnival; a home-spun form of entertainment which usually contained some elaborate and ingenious entries.
In the immediate post-war period, before the TV set became a universal box of tricks in the living room or lounge, a Wales holiday would be enlivened by local pageantry. People were keen to get away from the wartime austerity and uncertainty and let their hair down. and the Carnival was a wonderful way to do this and at the same time join in the wonderful community spirit that existed in those days.
Streets, clubs, schools, villages and individuals put their thinking-caps on and dreamt up the most ingenious ideas to make their float or individual pedestrian costume the best available, and the streets on Carnival day were thronged with the most colourful and entertaining spectacles, with plenty of noise from the bands and kazoo groups taking part. It was a wonderful display greatly enjoyed by the Wales holiday visitor and local alike, and many people on holiday entered into the spirit of the occasion and threw together a rudimentary costume to take part. Local hauliers would hire or loan their lorries and vans as floats to the groups building the tableaux, which were often themed on topical subjects, political decisions, well-known books or films. School tableaux often took a fairy story like The Pied Piper of Hamelin or The Ugly Duckling as their theme and teachers and parents collaborated to make spectacular displays, all vying for the prizes offered by the Carnival Committee. It was a wonderful display for the Wales holiday visitor and local inhabitant alike, often cocking a snook at the Government or the local council for some unpopular decision. It is not only the TV element that has diminished the Carnival. Every Wales holiday tourist will know that OTT Health and Safety regulations have also had a tremendous impact, the 'experts' throwing up their hands in horror at the prospect of children dressed in Nursery Rhyme costumes teetering on flat bed lorries as they crawl jerkily through the streets in procession. Bah, humbug!