CARNIVAL fever descended on a North-East market town for the finale of its Bank Holiday weekend celebrations.

The sun shone as hundreds of spectators lined the streets of Barnard Castle town centre to welcome the annual Barnard Castle Meet procession today (Monday, May 26).

A fire engine and the Newton Aycliffe Pipe Band led the colourful, lively and musical parade through the town centre, followed by numerous brightly-decorated floats, the carnival queen, pupils and staff from the town’s schools, community groups, classic cars, and town dignitaries.

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Many were bedecked in eye-catching fancy dress costumes.

Following the parade, scores of visitors flocked to the grounds of Barnard Castle for an afternoon of entertainment and music.

The procession marked the culmination of several days of celebrations for Barnard Castle Meet, during which there has been live music, sporting events and an array of family fun around the town.

Thom Robinson, one of the organisers, praised all those who took part in the procession, which proved particularly popular this year.

He said: “The event has gone really well, we have had some really good support which is great to see.

“We were really impressed with the procession.

“People really pushed the boat out and really made an effort which was nice for the community to see.

“It is great for us, as the organisers, to see so many people out and enjoying themselves.

“There has been a really nice atmosphere.

“This is a family-orientated event and we make everything free for the children.”

The 122nd Richmond Meet was one of the busiest and best of recent years.

Two buses and 100 brownies helped the Grand Carnival procession of floats make its mark with thousands of visitors turning out for the event yesterday morning(May26).

Setting off from Nuns Close car park, the fancy dress procession wound through the town from Newbiggin to Victoria Road and eventually into the market square.

Four cycling events were held over the weekend with one of the biggest turn outs in years as Tour de France fever hits the Dales.

Meet committee member Andrew Cunningham said: "It has gone really, really well, we were all concerned because of the weather, but the sunshine made all the difference.

“There were seven floats on wagons and around 18 walking floats, it was very impressive.

"The brownies have been celebrating their centenary so we had 100 brownies marching together as part of the carnival.

"It was really colourful and good to see. A lot of time, money and effort goes into organising this event so it is really nice to see it paying off, especially as we were so concerned in the days before because of the rain.”

Many events were organised in the Friary Gardens with dancing competitions, tombolas, cake stalls and refreshments provided through Richmond Meet Ladies Committee.

The aim of the Meet is to raise money for local charities and a cheque for £1,000 was presented from the Unicorn pub from quizzes held throughout the year.