The Oxford English Dictionary defines a carnival as a special occasion, a period of public enjoyment and entertainment involving wearing unusual clothes, dancing, and eating and drinking. Did you know that the word Carnival came from the Catholic religion in Italy? They held wild costume festivals right before the first day of Lent. Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during Lent, they called their festival, carnevale — which means “to put away the meat.” The only meat we had was sausage rolls and not for long either, once the lunch time crowd arrived.
Well we can’t speak for what anyone else’s unusual clothing was at the Warsop Carnival, but we were wearing bright orange Multiple Sclerosis t-shirts, Inner Wheel aprons, dancing to the jazz bands and serving hundreds of carnival revellers with cakes and drinks.
Few realise that England has some of the largest annual carnivals in the world; from Notting Hill in London, to the Bridgewater Illumination Carnival in Somerset, notably two of the largest carnivals in Europe. Warsop isn’t among the biggest but it certainly is among the best from where we were standing.
Preparation started on the Saturday before the big day. We managed to watch the football and then head out to set up. The Carnival Committee and helpers placed the tables and chairs in the marque, checked the fridges and confirmed everything on the to do list was done. We were all very hot and tired by the time Satruday evening came around. Rotarian Eric made sure one or two of the chairs were comfortable for our customers to sit on.
Early next morning on Sunday 8th July, Ladies of Warsop Inner Wheel, some members of the Warsop, Shirebrook and District Rotary Club, and a few of the Inner Wheel member’s husbands rolled up their sleeves and set to organising the finishing details of the refreshment tent.
Tent poles were secured, risk assessments were finalised, Arkwright’s till was dusted off, table posie vases were arranged, banners put up and the cakes were cut. New volunteers this year Dave and Neil, the President and Past President’s husbands were shown the ropes by members husbands and Rotarians Martin, Steve and Eric. After the boiler had been set up, the volunteers rest area chairs obviously needed to be checked; just to see if they were up to standard whilst the new boys went to fetch bacon butties.
Volunteering at events such as the carnival is a fantastic demonstration of team work and is great to put on your CV if you are ever wanting to get involved. Our volunteers turned up on Sunday and threw themselves in to everything with gusto. Jobs included pot washing, cake cutting, stocking the fridges, clearing tables, chatting with customers and pouring tea and coffee.
At times it must have looked like chaos to our customers, but we knew that so much hard work, preparation and planning had gone in to the event that is was organised chaos and we were simply, gratefully very busy. Our movements were like clockwork, working around each other, chatting, smiling and laughing as the day progressed.
President Ruth was overwhelmed with the support her friends and family had given her on the day turning up in small groups. The furthest had travelled from Norway, moving their annual two weeks with family from Warsop to coincide with the Carnival. President Ruth is also known amongst Inner Wheel for getting the members taking selfies and jazzing up the photography a little. Today was no different, instead of the usual official photos with dignitaries, selfies were the order of the day.
But we had some fantastic cakes to serve made by our members, friends and family, all donated for the purpose of raising money for our President’s charity Multiple Sclerosis. The club always tries to keep things local where ever possible and Grandma’s Bakery in Warsop made a fantastic supply of tray baked goodies for us.
It was not a surprise we completely sold out, it was just a surprise we sold out so quickly. All cakes had been sold by 3.45! We even sold a range of gluten free cakes make by members and received brilliant on the spot feedback. It was a great feeling knowing everyone was enjoying what we were offering.
After a long and very hot day, our many volunteers packed up and left the marque almost as we had found. The President’s stepcounter says she managed to walk 6miles during the day, without leaving the tent, so volunteering is obviously a good form of activity too.
We have some fantastic fund raising events planned across the year, all culminating in a themed black tie ball on 24 May 2019. We’d love to see you at an event or why not attend a monthly meeting, if you are thinking you might like to join our wonderful club. If you aren’t local to Warsop why not get in touch with District 22 or the Association and find your nearest Inner Wheel Club to you.