Hatherleigh residents braved the heat and sun on Saturday (June 17) to take part in the town’s first ever colour run to raise money for Hatherleigh Carnival.

Roads were closed on Saturday as over two hundred people gathered at the race start line next to the Co-op as they prepared to set forth on a 2.5km or 5km run around the town,

As the race got underway the town exploded with bright colours as spectators threw coloured powder from various stations along the route at participants as they passed by. The race start was staggered in order to prevent a backlog at each of the powder stations.

In keeping with today’s concerns surrounding the protection of the environment, the powder was made out of environmentally-friendly corn starch dyed with natural food colouring and was also non-staining and non-toxic.

Organisers reassured residents that it would not contaminate the river or surrounding environment and was easily washed away by water.

Starting off with white shirt, participants (and even spectators) ended the run covered head to foot in a riot of colour.

Organisers also gave advice on how to preserve the colour on the shirts - which otherwise washes out in water - as a memento of the event and all participants received a medal for completing the run.

The event ended in the evening following a party in the square to enjoy a barbecue, DJ, bar, live music - courtesy of band, Thunderlipz - and more powder-throwing. This year’s carnival president Mrs Jane Fawcett, and royalty were also introduced.

Following the run, organisers thanked on social media all those who took part and everyone who provided the powder while participants and spectators thanked organisers for putting on an enjoyable day.

Colour runs have their origins in the Hindu festival Holi, during which coloured powder is thrown to celebrate the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil.

At the time of writing, it is not yet known how much money carnival committee were able to raise for the popular event which takes place annually in the autumn.

Hatherleigh Carnival is especially well-known for the tradition of pulling blazing tar barrels through the town early in the morning and late at night on carnival day.

Last year in November, the carnival also included a town criers’ competition, hunt, window display competition, the children’s costume competition, featuring superheroes, the owl and the pussycat and the BFG.

There was also an evening performance which saw the Hatherleigh Silver Band march along the main street leading the main carnival procession which included floats from groups across West Devon and featuring a wide range of themes from Mario Kart, pirates, Grease and Maverick Top Gun.

Hatherleigh is one of several towns in West Devon, including Okehampton and Tavistock, that host annual carnivals. Last year, Okehampton’s carnival was cancelled due to difficulties obtaining permission to close roads in time for the event, For more information visit Hatherleigh Carnival’s 1st Colour Run 2023 Facebook page.