Visitors to tonight’s Burnham-On-Sea Carnival are being urged not to buy from unofficial ‘street pedlars.’

Burnham-On-Sea is among 14 towns across Somerset that have joined forces to crackdown on ‘street pedlars’ this carnival season.

The towns have formed the ‘Somerset Carnivals Consortium’ and have combined resources to buy merchandise that’s similar in style to that sold by pedlars. The goods will be sold at each carnival by group members at a much lower price.

There will be five official carnival traders tables set-up along the route of tonight’s carnival and those running the stalls will be dressed in official uniforms to try and make them quickly identifiable.

Phil New, Chairman of Highbridge and Burnham Carnival, told “There has been a steady growth in the numbers of pedlars coming to Burnham-On-Sea and other towns during the carnival season to sell various merchandise – they rake up the money and then leave after each event, giving nothing to the town carnivals.”

“We are therefore trying to price them out of the market by selling our own low–priced merchandise, keeping the proceeds within the carnivals, and flooding the market so it means they no longer see it beneficial to come here.”

A publicity campaign in the lead up to the carnivals is encouraging the public to buy goods only from these recognised and authorised sellers, with purchasers made aware that all profits will be put back into carnival.

A spokesman for the Somerset Carnivals Consortium said: “In recent years there has been an explosion in the numbers of pedlars descending on Somerset towns during the autumn carnival season.”

“Undoubtedly this is due, in no small part, to the tremendous success of our parades, but in previous years these traders have brought very little benefit for organising committees or clubs who voluntarily put in hours of work to put the show on the road.”

“We feel it is time to redress the situation to ensure that carnivals, and the charities they support, receive maximum return for our endeavours.”

The group adds that an “out-of-date” Act of Parliament has allowed street pedlars to trade anywhere in the country.

The consortium adds: “If we can’t beat them we have to join them. By doing so, our is aim to redistribute some of their massive profits to offset some of our ever-increasing costs.”

Products on for sale from the official carnival sellers will be bunny ears plus flashing wands, batons, windmills and whistles, and other items which children love at carnivals.

“We are delighted that this campaign has already received the support of local authorities and the police. This has encouraged us to pursue our ultimate ambition of removing from our streets the plague of pedlars who eat into our resources, with little, if any, recompense for carnival organisations, carnival clubs and charities who are the ones who really put in all the work.”

Those carnivals taking part in the scheme are Burnham-On-Sea, Bridgwater, Weston-super-Mare, North Petherton, Taunton, Shepton Mallet, Wells, Glastonbury, Wincanton, Wellington, Chard, Ilminster, Midsomer Norton, Castle Cary and Ansford.


Guide to 2017 Burnham-On-Sea Carnival