Helping hands make carnival a reality

David Brayshaw
David Brayshaw

What’s the best way to get the message out there that Morecambe Carnival is returning in 2014? This was the question which caused my next sleepless night.

We’d agreed the day and the route, we’d discussed budgets, concessions, security and stewards but what if nobody turns up to watch? I have visions of 120 stewards stood around watching one man and his dog as the procession passes by. One good thing, I bet he’d pick up after the dog!

We need a website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. I know a little about websites and I know a little about Facebook (because I ‘check in’ at the Globe when Morecambe are at home) but a Twitter feed? I question my daughter about this and am informed that this will allow us to tweet updates to followers. Now I’m even more confused but can’t admit that to a 15-year-old who already tuts when I ask her about Facebook and the like.

Once again I realise that I need help and this comes from a fantastic local company called Workshop Media. What these people don’t know about internet marketing isn’t worth knowing. In a matter of days, they have created an interactive website and Facebook page which are astounding and unbelievably, they agree to do all this work ‘in kind’ (for free!) as their contribution to the carnival.

Their sponsorship will be in lieu of any payment. They even visit us and go through all the technical details and teach me how to tw eet.

The Visitor and the Bay Radio then both do articles covering the launch of the carnival and we are up and running. We quickly get volunteers registering on the website and more than 40 groups wanting to enter a float. In addition, the number of likes on our Facebook page steadily rises each day.

It quickly becomes clear that many people have stories and photos of past carnivals which they would like to share with us and so we decide to arrange a meet and greet session to allow everyone the chance to meet the organising committee.

The Midland Hotel kindly offer us their Marion Dorn Suite and on October 6 the meeting goes ahead. The first people arrive 20 minutes early and then it’s full steam ahead until 4pm when we eventually close the doors. The response has been fantastic; lots of people, more float entries and more volunteer registrations.

I also get to meet a lady fire-eater although she’s on her day off and just having a coffee and sandwich (toasted?) in the Rotunda Bar.

The organisers of the Variety Festival call in to see us; their event is happening over the same weekend in May 14 and we excitedly discuss how the two events can interact and make this party weekend even better.

All in all it’s a terrific day and we all come away with our minds buzzing with positive thoughts and our arms full of scrap books, photo albums and Midland Hotel free mints!