Carnival queen 'beauty pageant' axed

Image source, Martyn Payne
Image caption, The 2016 Frome Carnival Queen Aleesha White will be the event's last regal centrepiece

Organisers of a carnival in Somerset are to break with decades of tradition by dropping the event's carnival queen competition.

Frome Carnival said the "beauty pageant" tradition was "not in keeping with 21st Century values".

It will replace the carnival queen role with five male and female carnival ambassadors of all ages.

The decision has upset traditionalists who say the change is down to political correctness.

Emily Denne from the carnival committee said: "We noticed that less people were having a go at being a member of the carnival the royalty and, as a mother of a boy, it seemed a bit old-fashioned to me.

"I also thought some girls and women would not want to wear the dresses that go with the role.

"It seemed a bit of beauty pageant judged on how people look on the day."

'Sign of the times'

The carnival queen has for decades been the centrepiece of the event.

Now she will be replaced with three ambassadors aged seven to 12, and two others aged over 13.

They will be expected to "represent the carnival at events, promote the charitable aspect of the carnival and help with fundraising".

The decision has divided opinion in the town. On the carnival Facebook page, Trevor Knight said: "Sad to see the queen go but a sign of the times, I guess."

But many were in favour, including Janet Gooding who said: "Great idea, better than being judged in a beauty pageant. Boys are just as good to represent Frome."

Selection of the ambassadors will take place on 1 September, with entrants asked why they would be suitable for the role.

The carnival takes place on 23 September.

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