Swanage Carnival 2023 in pictures and video

High winds and rain couldn’t dampen the spirit of Swanage Carnival 2023 and there were plenty of times over the eight days of entertainment when the sun shone on the organised chaos.

The carnival from Saturday 29th July to Saturday 5th August 2023 attracted thousands of visitors to Swanage in Dorset, alongside plenty of locals taking part in events and enjoying the live music.

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Swanage Carnival 2023
Claire Richards

The sun shone for the Swanage Fire Station team competing in the We’re a Knockout

Week started with glorious sun

The carnival started on Saturday with glorious sunny weather for the new We’re a Knockout competition on Sandpit Field which was an instant hit attracting lots of local teams.

On the following day it rained in the morning but just before the procession was due to start it miraculously dried up, allowing the floats to parade through the streets as planned.

On Wednesday most of the day’s events were wiped out by gales and heavy rain but the awards for the photo marathon went ahead as did the fireworks in the evening.

This meant that Friday ended up as a bumper day with Wednesday’s events including the gymnastics and the dog show moved to Friday, alongside the vintage car show.

The live music remained extremely well attended with crowds packing the main marquee at Sandpit Field every night through to 11 pm. On Thursday late afternoon and evening the EHM event successfully took place at Prince Albert Gardens, overlooking the bay

Andy Lyons

The heavens poured at times!

Kevin Langdon at Swanage Carnival 2023

The marquee is dismantled for another year with secretary of Swanage Carnival, Kevin Langdon

“We are really quite unique!”

Secretary of Swanage Carnival, Kevin Langdon said:

“The carnival is becoming the biggest event on the South Coast with so much free entertainment over eight days – we are really quite unique!

“There was lots of rescheduling due to the weather but plenty of entertainment indoors to keep a smile on everyone’s faces.

“However we did get lucky with the weather on key moments of the carnival – the three nights of fireworks, the procession on the Sunday and the wheelbarrow race on the Friday, so we can’t really complain!”

The carnival hub at Sandpit Field pictured at night

Nadine Hudson-Featherstone

Sway All Stars dance Sunday evening away

Swanage Carnival’s chosen charities and good causes for 2023

Last year the carnival, which took place over eight days of continuous sunshine, raised a record of £29,150 for local good causes and there are hopes that despite the more variable climate, the same amount will be able to be distributed to charity again.

President’s choice

  • The Memory Box Project – giving memory boxes to children bereaved of parents or siblings
  • Dementia Friendly Purbeck

Carnival annual choices

  • Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance
  • Swanage Stroke Club

Chosen organisations for 2023

  • Allsort’d
  • Careline
  • Girlguiding Swanage
  • Going for Bust – helping fight breast cancer
  • Herston Village Hall
  • Mount Scar Cygnets pre-school
  • Swanage and Wareham RFC
  • Swanage Army Link
  • Swanage Community Defibrillator Partnership
  • Swanage Youth Cricket
  • Swanage Disabled Club
  • Swanage Linking Lives
  • Swanage Town and Herston Football Club
  • Friends of MS Purbeck
  • The Lexi May trust
  • Tyler’s Friends Charity

One of the buggies in the procession

Nadine Hudson-Featherstone

Raw Samba shake things up on the seafront

New ideas for next year

Kevin Langdon added:

“We’re already thinking of new events and new ideas for next year – the planning for 2024 has already started!.

“Many think we get paid for organising and running the carnival but we are all volunteers and we welcome more people to get involved. There’s plenty of roles for people to do and it needn’t be a huge commitment – there’s lots of little jobs that can make a big difference!”

Swanage Carnival will be back next year from Saturday 27th July to Saturday 3rd August 2024, although the next charity event at Sandpit Field is the Swanage and Purbeck Rotary Summer Community Fete from 12 noon to 5 pm on Thursday 10th August 2023.

Watch video of Swanage Carnival highlights by Andy Lyons

Further information

More photos

Swanage Carnival 2023
Timothy Crabb

All dressed up for the wheelbarrow race through Institute Road

Alan from Essex at Swanage Carnival 2023

Alan from Essex makes his annual pilgrimage to Swanage

Timothy Crabb

Dancing in the street during the procession

Andy Lyons

We’re a Knockout team looks a knockout!

Andy Lyons

Swanage swimming star Daisy scoops first in her swimming race again

Nadine Hudson-Featherstone

Eyes down in the marquee for bingo

Andy Lyons

Gig rowing is oarsome

Timothy Crabb

More carnival members are always welcome

Andy Lyons

The Swanage Carnival Triathlon gets underway

Timothy Crabb

Plenty of winners during the week

Nadine Hudson-Featherstone

The Scruff’s Fun Dog Show featuring The Black Paw

Timothy Crabb

Spinning the decks at EHM

Timothy Crabb

Prince Albert Gardens at EHM

Nadine Hudson-Featherstone

Plenty of swimming races

Nadine Hudson-Featherstone

Three evenings of fireworks all went ahead as planned

Nadine Hudson-Featherstone

The End for another year but back again for 2024!

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