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Thousands enjoy glorious start to Swanage Regatta and Carnival Week
TENS of thousands of people enjoyed a glorious start to Swanage Regatta and Carnival Week.
Visitors arrived in their droves as the sun beat down on the opening weekend of the extravaganza, to enjoy the Red Arrows, the procession and a host of other attractions including live music.
And organisers were celebrating after it proved to be one of the most popular starts ever with the town’s car parks full.
Carnival committee chairman Chris Tomes thanked his hordes of volunteer helpers as he watched the procession from the top of Sandpit Field.
He said: “I’m over the moon really.
“This day does seem to be one of the busiest we’ve ever had with the procession and the Red Arrows being on the same day.”
The promenade was at least six to seven people deep in places watching the procession, with many floats sporting an Olympic theme.
Carnival Queen Tamsin Josking, 18, led the procession with the Heroes Haven entry winning best float overall.
They drove military vehicles along the route, under the title Lighting the Way for Carnival Gold. Organisers estimated 30,000 people came to Swanage yesterday while police believed it could have been tens of thousands more.
The Red Arrows arrived in the early afternoon and amazed the spectators stretching from Peveril Point to Ballard Down. Among the food stalls on Sandpit Field were local traders and a large marquee and bar will host live music all week.
Last year the carnival raised £26,000 for charities and good causes and after the resort was packed again a similar amount could be achieved this time, for 20 groups including Clic Sargent and the Dorset and Somerset air Ambulance.
Organisers have packed the programme of events with attractions for families all week, the last day being next Saturday.
The Wessex Bird of Prey flying displays are one of the attractions on daily to keep the festivities bubbling along