Sun shines as Shrewsbury Carnival attracts thousands – PICTURES AND VIDEO
On Friday there were serious discussions about postponing Shrewsbury Carnival due to the weather but by Saturday afternoon thousands of people were lining the streets in the sunshine to cheer on the procession.
Organisers hailed the efforts of those who had taken part in the parade, with more than 30 groups making up a colour-laden convoy of music, dancing and comedy.
The main event was hosted in The Quarry, and while parts of the bottom of the picturesque park had been swallowed by the River Severn, some temporary fencing – running from the statue of Hercules to the Victoria Quay entrance – meant the show could go on with no risk to the public.
The field was packed with stalls, with the carnival committee revealing a record number of takers, ranging from charities to treats.
A live stage provided a platform for performances from a host of talented youngsters, while the fun fair offered its own brand of thrills and spills to the usual blaring music.
Carnival Committee chairman Simon Cook said they had been delighted with the turnout for the event – especially given that they were faced with the very real possibility of postponing due to the rain.
He said: "We are so, so pleased, particularly bearing in mind what the weather was potentially going to be like. We have managed to manage the increased height of the River Severn because yesterday there was the potential of it flooding.
"We have had a record turn out of stalls – 50 – and noticeably higher entries for the parade. We think that might be because we have not gone with a theme and we've just said anything goes. Previously we have had comments from people where they have not known what to do so we said anything goes, do what you like – within reason obviously! And it is great, it has really encouraged people to take part. We are here to raise money for good causes in Shrewsbury and that is what we are aiming for."
On average the carnival hands out around £5,000 to groups each year, and it will decide who receives this year's proceeds in September.
Mr Cook said they were pleased at the line-up for the procession – and that the public had been eager to make sure this year's parade was not scuppered by road works.
He said: "It is really good to see people are supporting it and taking part. As a committee we kept pushing it and pushing it, getting out to a lot of schools and groups and encouraging them to take part.
"We noticed when the road works went up that people were commenting and asking "will the carnival be on?". The council and the contractors have worked with us to reopen the road for us to go through and that's great."
One of the groups taking part in the procession, and performing on the field was Shrewsbury's Viv Kelly School of Dance and Theatre, led by Lindsay Kelly.
She said her team of 10 to 17 year olds were thrilled to take part.
She said: "We work on performances throughout the year but this is one of our favourites because you get to go out to the general public on the parade and there is such a sense of joy going around. You can see it on people's faces and it is just fabulous.
"I think this is about my 20th year in a row doing the carnival and I would not miss it, my girls would not miss it. We love it and we will probably be starting talking about next year next week!"
Carnival Queen for the day was Ava Chaytor, and carnival committee secretary, Shelley Oliver, said they had been hugely impressed with the performances from all the youngsters who had appeared on the live stage.
She said: "They have been really, really good. The vocal duo Matt and Gemima were just brilliant. The rock project, it had started to rain before they came on but they played to a great audience of people crowded round and they were fantastic. All of them have been great."
The procession featured a host of spectacular floats including Hanwood Youth Club's 'Best of British', complete with the Spice Girls, Del Boy and Rodney, The Queen, the Red Arrows, and Boy George.
Will Hanmer, chair of the youth club said they had been working on the effort for two days a week over the past two months.
He said: "It has come together brilliantly and the artwork the kids have done is fantastic.
"It is kind of the youth club's highlight of the year. It is what we all look forward to."
Other floats included Shropshire Ukulele Massive's stunning pirate themed entry, efforts from Crowmoor School and the Martin Wilson School, The Alisha Jayne Dance Academy's spectacular take on Mary Poppins, the Footlights Dance School with their circus theme, along with Shrewsbury Town in the Community, who were joined by Lenny the Lion for the tour round town.
Harlescott District Guiding also had a float, while Shawbury and Alberbury YFC joined in the fun with their own efforts.
Whittington and Oswestry YFC put in their own Tellytubby effort, with the Rock Music School playing live rock from the back of their truck.