Turning up the heat as autumn gloom is pierced by carnivals' stunning shows
A tractor fire brought drama to the streets as two more carnivals brought out the crowds in Somerset and Wiltshire.
Magnum Carnival Club's tractor caught fire just minutes before the start of the parade at Trowbridge, and the crew rushed to extinguish it as the town's fire engine – which had been preparing to lead off the procession – rushed back through the line to assist.
Magnum's Butterfly Ball was the only tableau in the procession, writes Tina Rowe, so will go on to Warminster on Saturday and then the big Guy Fawkes circuit in Somerset next month in good heart.
So too will Gillingham's Hot Rocks CC, who have swept the board at this year's Wessex circuit with their Ghostbusters-theme Who You Gonna Call? entry.
Club secretary Kelly Osborne said it's been a great year. "We've done all the Wessex ones and we've come first at all of them".
For the first time in seven years, the Hope Nature Centre, a volunteer centre and café for adults with special needs or learning difficulties, entered, and had a ball.
At Taunton, the town's Blackbrook Guides put on one of the most colourful shows of the night, a wonderful variety of cheerful clowns, dancers and other circus folk, which won the best local walking entry title.
Masquerader Andrew Tizzard, from Chard, is celebrating his 30th season. This year he is Flaming Hot Hot Hot, and he admits that yes, it is hot inside his ingenious costume.
"I first entered when I was two. I must be mad to be still doing this, but it's great," he said.
Youngsters Jaclyne Dawe and Megan Norman, who made an appealing pair of phoenixes as Wings of Fire from Cousins CC, may follow in Mr Tizzard's footsteps to delight crowds in the 2040s.
The premier award at Taunton went to City of Rock from Harlequin CC of Ilminster, which also took the costume cup and was Miss Taunton's favourite. Ilminster's Gemini CC took the tableau title with its superbly realised La Barricade.
Best local walking entry: Blackbrook Clowns and Friends, Blackbrook Guides. Best walking entry: Xtraterrestrial, Xtreme CC. Best costume on foot, Woof!, A&A CC. Best float costume: City of Rock, Harlequin CC. Best lorry build-up: La Barricade, Gemini CC. Best local entry classes 1-5 and 10: Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves, Generations CC. Float chosen by Miss Taunton: City of Rock, Harlequin CC. Premier award: City of Rock, Harlequin CC. Classes: Feature: 1, City of Rock, Harlequin CC; 2, Rise of the Bugs, Eclipse CC; 3, Legend of the Crystal Skull, Sid Vale CC. Tableau: 1, La Barricade, Gemini CC; 2, Time to Remember, Unicorn CC. Comic: 1, Santa's Vacation, Harbourside CC; 2, Jack in the Box, Perry Street CC. Children/youth tableau/feature: 1, Vampire Desire, Club 2000 CC; 2, Livin' La Vida Loca, Genesis Youth Theatre Group. Open: 1, Orrible Histories, Zem CC. 2, Gipsies, Tramps and Thieves, Generations CC; 3, Rockstar, The Wonders CC. Single walking adult: 1, Cygnus, Spirit CC; 2, Flaming Hot Hot Hot, Andy Tizzard; 3, Dressed to Impress, Judy Williams. Single walking juvenile: 1, Maid in China, Jess CC; 2, Winter Comes to Fairyland, Rio Welsh; 3, Queen of Hearts, Lorna Stephenson. Pair walking: Woof!, A&A CC; 2, Clean Sweep, Dee Gee's CC; 3, We're Back!, Inferno CC. Group on foot: 1, Westenders, Limelight Theatre; 2, Sleeping Beauty, Wellington Pantomime Club. Walking open: 1, Xtraterrestrial, Xtreme CC; 2, Wellington and Taunton YFC. Tableau/feature/comic: 1, Summertime, Wheddon Cross CC; 2, Wivey YFC Presents Disney, Wiveliscombe YFC. Traders display: 1, Wookey Hole Ltd; 2, Oake Manor; 3, Snow White, Octagon Theatre. Children/youth walking: 1, Blackbrook Clowns and Friends, Blackbrook Guides; 2, Taunton Sea and Royal Marines Cadets Field Gun Team. Majorettes: 1, Stardust Majorettes; 2, Chard Goldstars; 3, Merriott Silhouette.