Families have a whale of a time at Devizes Festival

This Is Wiltshire: From left are Jake Oldershaw and Greg Morss with their whale cinema for families to step inside From left are Jake Oldershaw and Greg Morss with their whale cinema for families to step inside

Thousands of people had fun in the sun with a vast array of music and entertainment on the first day of Devizes Carnival street fair on Sunday.

The Green, Devizes, was full of people of all ages enjoying the free festival. Stealing the show was the Iron Man presented by the Graeae Theatre Company in the car park of the Wyvern Club.

Hundreds of people were give given a quick lesson in sign language at the beginning of the show so they could join in the hand movements with the actors. They quickly became adapt at signing words such as Iron Man, Hogarth and space bat.

The towering 16ft high iron man, made of spare metal parts, brought gasps from younger members of the audience and was widely applauded as he proved himself a force for good.

Among those in the audience were Max Welman, ten, and his sister D’Arcy, eight.

Their mum Karen Welman said: “We think the street festival is fantastic. When we were looking for a house two years ago we arrived during carnival time and it was one of the main reasons we decided to move to Devizes. There is so much going on for the community and it is free.”

Elsewhere there were clowns and actors making sure the crowd had fun. Students from Circomedia dressed as Doo-Lolly and, equipped with their own portable zebra crossing, made sure people crossed their makeshift road in safety. Among those trying out the crossing were brothers Corban and Hedley Kimmer.

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Their dad Jason said: “We live in Devizes and always enjoy the carnival events.”

The Bowler family was among those who dared to enter the jaws of a giant silver whale brought to The Green by Talking Birds. Sarah Bowler, husband Nigel and son Austin, four, went inside the metal machine to be serenaded by a lovesick submariner on a three-minute journey.

Mark Bowler stayed outside with his nephew Ozzy, seven, who was not so sure about entering the whale’s mouth. Mr Bowler said: “We moved to Devizes two years ago. We all really love the carnival events.”

A variety of bands made sure those who just wanted to relax with a drink in their hand were kept entertained. Music came from folk rock group K-Passa, reggae band Giant Sequoia, The Pete Gage Band and Tongues of Fire.

A procession of light and sound that was meant to leave The Green at 7pm had to be re-arranged a couple of days before the event because of logistical problems but still managed to wow a big crowd.

Instead of the procession, the giant sculptures made in workshops organised by outdoor arts company Rag & Bone remained on The Green and were brought alive with light, noise, fire and music.

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