AN escapologist jumping off a high-rise crane in flames and freeing himself from an exploding coffin will be among the highlights at today's Melksham Carnival.

The carnival procession, party in the park and companion dog show will be held from 9am onwards.

For the first time there will be a Melksham Mad Dash - a 2km fun run covering the carnival route to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Runners will leave from the town bridge at about 5.45pm and entries are welcome on the day.

Carnival celebrations will be split in two, with party in the park events taking place throughout the day in King George V playing fields and the procession starting at 6pm from Cooper Avon Tires car park in Bath Road.

Floats will be competing for nine prizes on offer. The number of entries has not yet been confirmed.

In the park an RAF dog display will get things going at 2.15pm.

King's Park Primary School cheerleaders will be performing from 3.15pm while a skatejam is planned at the skate park from 6pm.

Escapologist Mark Stannage will be performing three stunts at 3.45pm, 5pm and 7.30pm, including the death-defying high dive off a crane.

A medieval encampment will be set up within the park by members of Fairfax Battalia, who will perform Civil War re-enactments at 4.15pm and 6.45pm.

The tennis courts will play host to CSF Wrestling from 7.15-8pm, while Bristol Zoo will be bringing along a host of animals as part of its outreach programme.

Musical entertainment will be laid on all day, with Melksham band Mutley on stage at 8pm and Madness tribute band One Step Behind wrapping up the entertainment from 9-10pm.

  • For the second year running Paws in the Park is coming to Melksham on carnival day with a companion dog show, sponsored by the Beeches Vet Centre.

Rosettes will be handed out to the top five dogs in all classes, which will include oldest veteran, best Melksham resident, beauty classes and prettiest bitch.

The novelty classes, open to all dogs, will be judged by David Waite, of Chippenham Canine Society, while the beauty classes, open to recognised breeds, will be judged by Jean Holley.

Entries are from 9am, judging for beauty categories is from 11am and judging for novelty classes is from 2pm.

Prizes have been provided by Petstown and Animal Lunchbox. There will also be the Dog About Town good citizen awards.