Melksham Carnival Queen 2016 is Erika Bignell, who was crowned at the royalty competitions earlier this month.
Erika will take over from 2015’s queen, Tara Jayne Harrold, and will be joined by the other newly-crowned Melksham Carnival royalty for 2016: Elle Snell as her Princess; Charlotte Harrall as Butterfly Princess; William Fletcher as Prince and Ciara Cottle, who won the new Fairy Princess category.
Erika, a manager at The Milk Churn pub said, “I’m still shocked to have won! I’ve never won anything like this before, but I turn 30 this year so it’s a year of doing things I’ve never done before.
“I love the carnival and it’s always great to see the Melksham community get together. I’m really looking forward to being involved with it, meeting new people and wearing my tiara!”
Melksham’s new royal family was selected at the annual competition, held on Sunday 13th March, which saw 40 entrants across the five categories judged by members of Bath Women’s Institute. The ‘Bonniest Baby’ and ‘Carnival Cutie’ competitions also took place in the afternoon.
Organiser and carnival secretary Beth Dark said, “The competitions went really well and the atmosphere was really wonderful– the winners were all congratulated by those who didn’t win, which was lovely to see.
“The babies and children were all so beautiful and well-behaved as well; I don’t know how the judges chose between them!”
To spread out the competitors, this year’s event saw a slight reshuffle in the royalty; the Butterfly Princess category was changed to include girls in school years four to six, and the Fairy Princess category was introduced for girls from reception to year three. The Glamorous Grandmother category was dropped because not enough people were entering.
“We stepped up the competitions to be a bit more theatrical this year and we’ve had great feedback – it helps to know we’re doing the right thing and what we can improve on,” added Beth Dark.
“We were pleased by the number of people who entered, but the most important thing is that people want to do it. I’m really happy with the new royalty and they’re all very enthused and excited to have been chosen.
“I think having carnival royalty is important because it gives a familiar face to the event and gets people excited. Melksham is a close community and everybody knows someone who knows someone, and it makes them feel connected to the carnival.
“I remember seeing the royalty announced in the Melksham News when I was a little girl and thinking ‘I know her’. Without its royalty a carnival is just a parade!”
This year’s Melksham Carnival will be on Saturday 23rd July, with a new fun day in King George V Park before the procession starts at 6pm.
For more information visit www.melkshamcarnival.co.uk.