Unconventional carnival dubbed ‘runaway success’
PUBLISHED: 13:11 11 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:31 11 August 2020
Sheringham’s first-ever ‘virtual’ carnival has proven to be a “surprise, runaway success” - with a duck race and Where’s Wally competition among the highlights.
Covid-19 restrictions forced organisers to rethink the week-long carnival, which in ordinary years draws thousands of people to the seaside town.
This year’s events, which ran from August 1-8, could all be done online or within family groups and then shared on the internet.
Sarah Peberday, carnival committee member who led the organising team for the virtual event, said she was thrilled with how many people got involved.
Mrs Peberday said: “This year’s carnival was really inclusive - it didn’t matter who you were or where you were it was open for all. It was a surprise, runaway success and we’re super proud of what we’ve been able to deliver.”
The carnival usually includes a plastic duck race, and it was still held this year, but streamed live online, with people from as far away as Australia buying ducks to take part.
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Another big hit was a Where’s Wally contest - where people had to find Mrs Peberday, dressed up as Wally, in photos of the carnival taken in previous years.
MORE: £1,000s in vouchers on offer at town’s ‘virtual’ carnival
Simon Prince, another organiser, added: “The sand castle competition also had a huge amount of engagement - six times more than usual. People could just go to the beach in their family groups and build a sand castle, so we had lots of entries for that.”
Philip Goddall, from East Runton, was named the carnival’s outstanding contributor after entering many events with his family and was awarded a special ‘super fan’ prize.
About 70 vouchers are being given out to competition winners, which can be spent at high street shops, pubs, food outlets and B&B accommodation around the town, in an effort to help revive Sheringham’s economy following the lockdown.
Mr Prince said this year’s experience would change the shape of future carnivals when the need to ‘socially distance’ is - hopefully - a thing of the past.
He said: “Next year we’ll potentially have a virtual carnival to run alongside the ‘real world’ one.”
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