An estimated 30,000 people rammed into Morecambe as the return of the Carnival brought the town’s busiest day in years.
Not even light rain at the start of the parade could dampen the spirits of a seemingly never-ending stream of people who lined the Promenade.
Crowds craned their necks for a glimpse of the 40 floats led by a horse and carriage ridden by Morecambe businessman Mick Gorry.
The parade set off from Morecambe Yacht Club at around 2pm, making its way down the seafront towards the Battery before turning around and finishing at the site of the former Dome.
Morecambe’s Baybeat Band, a yacht on wheels from Morecambe Yacht Club, a Queens Hotel ‘disco float’, fancy dress costumed characters and numerous other local charities, businesses, schools and organisations were represented in the parade.
Eight year olds Lucas Hryniw and May Mashiter were crowned the Carnival King and Queen by Alice Taylor, 18, who was a Rosebud at the last Carnival in 2001.
Later, pop acts including X Factor finalists MK1 and Kitty Brucknell, and Britain’s Got Talent finalist Gabz entertained a huge crowd on The Bay stage. Kingsland Road, The Loveable Rogues and Lancaster’s Paul Akister, fresh from The X Factor auditions, were also there.
The Only Way Is Essex personality Kirk Norcross was the only no-show from the scheduled line up.
There was almost universal praise for the Carnival from people who attended the fiesta of fun, which also included a fairground, a ‘City of Bounce’ inflatable play area and food stalls.
“It’s good for the town,” said Joy Stembridge, a teacher from Morecambe.
“We went to the Variety Festival too and really enjoyed it.”
Her daughter Hannah Stembridge, seven, said: “I’ve never seen so many people in Morecambe.”
Ann Hartle, from the Sue Ryder Care charity shop in Morecambe, said: “The whole town has been buzzing about this for weeks.
“I’ve got a funny feeling this will happen every year.”
Emma Hamilton, from charity West End Impact who were in the parade, said: “We’re all about people in the community so we wanted to be part of it, and it’s been really good.”
Steve Hedger from Heysham, whose seven-year-old son Isaac was dressed as Eric Morecambe in the parade, said: “I think they should do more events like this and get Morecambe back on the map.
“Isaac’s nanna made his costume for him and she’s come up from Oxford to see it.”
Volunteer steward Ivan Harrison said: “I’ve been here since 7am but it’s been worth it. I love seeing Morecambe like this.”
Reg Eccles from Morecambe said: “The concept is brilliant. The town needs it.”
Across the road from the Carnival, the weekend’s Morecambe Variety Festival also proved to be a big draw with 4,500 packing into the Winter Gardens theatre on Saturday and Sunday.
Prizes were given for the best floats at the Carnival as follows:
Best Float - The Arndale Centre
Best Themed Float - Total Tots Nursery
Best Original Float - Boys’ Brigade, Bare
Best Musical Entry - West End Impact
Special Recognition - Variety Festival