A carnival committee has been accused of “political correctness gone mad” after scrapping the traditional ‘bonny baby’ contest – because it is unfair to judge kids on their looks.
The organisers of Devizes Carnival in Wiltshire have also abolished the role of Carnival Queen as it does not “fit with the ethos” of the event.
Committee members ruled that the baby and toddler pageant is “no longer an appropriate item” to include in a contemporary carnival programme.
But some mums are so furious at the decision they have organised their own ‘unofficial’ bonny baby contest instead.
The alternative pageant has even won the back of Devizes Mayor Pete Smith, who said the event brings the community together.
He added: “The mums said it was political correctness gone mad and I agree – it’s bloody stupid.
“I will always agree with the mum’s – they always know best after all. What’s better than a beautiful little baby? It is just marvellous.
“It brings the community together and I don’t think we should lose it.”
Stephanie Gale, 28, of Market Lavington, whose son Toby was the winner of last year’s carnival baby show, added: “It’s a bit of fun and everybody likes looking at pictures of babies.”
But Dave Buxton, artistic director of Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts which organises the carnival, said committee members were unanimously against the bonny baby contest.
“Devizes Carnival is a really modern carnival with hundreds of people taking part,” he said.
“Do you really think it is a good idea to judge babies and decide which ones are the best? The whole committee felt that.
“We are a community arts organisation and it is not really appropriate.
“There are some people that want it, but it is a handful of people.
“If you look at the carnival over the years, all sorts of things have come and gone – fashions change.
“It just doesn’t seem a very nice thing to do. Everyone believes that there baby is the best baby. How do you feel if your baby isn’t the one that has won? I think you would walk out not feeling very good.”
The carnival procession will be held on Saturday August 31 but a the unofficial ‘Mayor’s Baby Show’ will now take place on August 27.
Former Devizes Carnival chairman Jeanette Von Berg has organised the alternative pageant after seeing a demand from parents.
She said: “I was really upset when it was cancelled.
“I asked mums in the town if they wanted a baby show and they did. They said they didn’t agree with the carnival committee’s decision. I am pleased the mayor Pete Smith agreed to put his name to it.”
Mayor Smith added: “There are certain people on the carnival committee who want to change things I don’t think for the better.
“That’s why I have stepped in to call it the Mayor’s Baby Show.
“The committee are doing a good job and that, but people like the old fashioned stuff. They like to take their kids along and say ‘Granny did this when she was a little girl’.”