THE organisers of Chard Carnival are calling on those enjoying this weekend’s festivities to help their cash stay in the town’s economy.

The South Somerset Federation of Carnivals launched its own merchandise line in 2016 and has expanded every year.

The products are sold at Wellington, Ilminster, Chard and Taunton carnivals, in a bid to support their illuminated processions.

One of the main problems is that money is lost every year to independent sellers travelling to the South West to sell merchandise such as LED toys and balloons, according to Chard Carnival chairman Jason Baker.

He said: “Thousands of pounds are lost to the carnival purse by people purchasing carnival merchandise, like LED toys and balloons, from pedlars, who travel from as far afield as the Midlands, and descend on our towns to sell these items and exploit the atmosphere we create.”

To combat this problem, the federation has decided to collectively purchase its own merchandise to sell during carnival nights.

Merchandise will be available to purchase from stalls at each town throughout carnival day. Authorised sellers will be wearing blue hi-vis tabards, selling merchandise along the carnival route before and during the processions.

Instead of leaving the West Country, this cash then goes towards great causes in each carnival’s area, including local charities and community groups.