A “BRIGHT, colourful and noisy celebration” is set to take over Ilminster town centre this weekend as the town holds its first full Somerset Day event.

A full day of festivities is set for Saturday (May 11) and will be kick started by the Ilminster annual town crier competition.

The contest is organised by Ilminster’s own crier, Andrew Fox.

He said: “Dressed in their colourful and historic regalia and ringing their bells, eighteen town criers from across the land will parade down East Street at 10.30am, heading for the historic Market House to demonstrate their prowess.

“Criers, many accompanied by their uniformed escorts, will compete to find who can best sustain the volume of a cry while remaining clear, precise and expressive.

“They will also be judged on their turnout and regalia and how well they act as ambassador for their home towns.”

The event often draws a large crowd, and Andrew is hoping for a repeat of last year’s sunshine.

He added: “As well as local, Somerset and West Country, colleagues are coming to Ilminster from faraway places like Launceston, Bognor Regis, Bromyard and Montgomery, not to mention a Devonshire contingent, intent on revenge for all the Devon silverware Ilminster has pirated over the years.

“The occasion will also be graced by our very own, delightful Ilminster Majorettes and by a cry off between two of the youngest town criers in the land, Ollie Pinder-Day from Stoke Gabriel in Devon and Peter Leaton from Wareham in Dorset.”

After an initial cry in praise of each of their home towns, competitors will be asked to perform a cry on the theme ‘I dreamed a dream’.

Winners are set to be announced at 2.15pm, and then from 2.30pm there will be a town party in the Minster grounds.

This will feature a barbecue, a great bake-off competition, vintage cream tea, cider bar, kids games, face painting, and the Ilminster Ukelele Band.

The bake-off entries must be submitted by 2.30pm, and there are separate prizes for adults and under 18s.