Okehampton Carnival is set to return to the streets of the town next Saturday — October 16 — after an absence of two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While the carnival spirit was kept alive last year with classes for best-dressed windows in town, very sadly there could be no gathering for the traditional afternoon and evening processions.

This year, though, everything is back on track, with a just a few tweaks to the traditional format.

The day will start at 9am in the Charter Hall with a coffee morning, as in previous years.

Then in the afternoon, instead of judging the children in their costumes indoors, the organisers are holding a fancy dress parade for them.

Participants are invited to meet on the driveway of Okehampton College at 2.45pm. From here, at 3.15pm, they will follow the Okehampton Excelsior Silver Band and Carnival Princess Ophelia Batson along Mill Road, down George Street, along Fore Street and back along Mill Road and Simmons Way to finish back in the college driveway.

All entrants will receive a certificate and a bag of goodies.

In the evening, things will progress as in pre-Covid times with the judging and evening procession outside.

Mill Road (from the waterwheel to its junction with Station Road), St James Street, Park Row and Kempley Road will be closed from 4.30pm for the assembling of tableaux before the evening judging begins at 6pm.

Then at 7.15pm, the evening procession will start winding its way through Okehampton, led by the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

Roads affected by the evening procession (from 6.30pm) will be Mill Road, George Street, Market Street, Fore Street, North Street, East Street, Northfield Road, Neville Road, Victoria Street, Wonnacotts Road, Lopes Crescent, Barton Road, Link Road, Crediton Road, Leaholes Avenue, Limehayes Road and Exeter Road.

The marshals will man the road closures for the safety of those taking part and all those watching the carnival. Please treat them with respect; they are all volunteers.

The organisers wish to thank everyone at Donald’s Menswear for, once again, being the collection and drop off point for the entry forms.

Back by popular demand are the Decorated Residential Window Competition and the Business and Charity Shop Window Competition. This year’s theme is ‘Animal World’ so it is time for you to get your thinking caps on! ‘At the end of the day this is YOUR carnival, so have fun and keep your fingers crossed for good weather,’ said organiser Steve Bolt. ‘See you on the 16th!’