THOUSANDS of people turned out to see South Tyneside’s annual carnival weave and dance its way through the streets.
Town crier Jim Chambers led the summer parade from South Shields Town Hall along Fowler Street and Ocean Road, to Bents Park, for an afternoon of music and entertainment.
More than 700 people took part in the annual parade on Saturday, with local schools and 45 community groups represented, including sports clubs, youth groups, and the military.
It even included Darth Vader and Captain Jack Sparrow, while members of the South Tyneside Dance Workshop kept the crowds entertained with an all-action routine.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Eileen Leask, said the enthusiasm of the participants and better weather made sure the event was a success.
She said: “It was such a relief that the rain stayed away, and we even got a bit of sunshine.
“The afternoon has been absolutely fantastic, and it is wonderful to see so many people getting involved.
“Everyone in the parade has taken pride in getting dressed up in all sorts of costumes for the occasion, and it’s great to see children and their families having fun. “
South Tyneside Council estimated that more than 10,000 people packed out Bents Park for the summer fair, which took place after the parade.
Local band The Understudies took to the giant stage, after performances from school musicians, the South Shields-based Performers Stage School, and a comedy routine from Bo Clown in his distinctive pedal car.
Angela Carruthers, 33, of Boldon Colliery, was at Bents Park with her dad, Billy, 65. She said: “I think everyone thought it was going to be a washout with the amount of rain we’ve had lately.
“But we’ve been blessed with a lovely day, and there has been a great atmosphere.
“People in South Tyneside always turn out for the parade, and it’s an important part of the borough’s summer calendar.”
Craig Stanners, 20, of South Shields, said: “I come to the parade every year, and it’s always a good day out.
“I think people enjoy the start when the town crier’s bell sets everyone away.
“It seems to take forever for all the people in the parade to pass by, with each part of the community represented.
“I don’t think you’d get this kind of thing elsewhere – it’s quite unique to South Tyneside.”
Yesterday, Bents Park played host to a special Festival Funday, featuring music from North-East acts Bessie And The Zinc Buckets and Big Red And The Grinners, as well as Zumba demonstrations, chainsaw woodcarving and a display of historic vehicles.
THE parade kicked off the three-month South Tyneside Summer Festival which is showcasing some of the country’s best musical talent this summer.
Yesterday, Bents Park played host to a special Festival Funday, featuring music from North-East acts Bessie And The Zinc Buckets, and Big Red and the Grinners, as well as Zumba demonstrations, chainsaw woodcarving and a display of historic vehicles.
Upcoming festival highlights include a series of open air concerts in Bents Park headlined by Scouting For Girls (July 15), Matt Cardle (July 22) and The Feeling (July 29), with weekly live music shows and family events in August.
Other musical highlights include a series of brass band concerts at the town’s seafront Amphitheatre every Sunday from 2pm until 4pm, Saturday performances at the bandstand in South Marine Park, and a special concert marking the end of Westoe Brass Band’s centenary year, tomorrow.
All events are free to attend. To find out more, visit www.southtyneside.info/summerfestival, search for South Tyneside Events on Facebook or call 454 6612.