THE North East's biggest multicultural festival is set to return this summer, organisers have announced.

The annual Middlesbrough Mela usually draws huge crowds to Albert Park across a full weekend of festivities.

Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year's celebrations will be held over three micro Mela events and additional activities.

Restrictions on numbers at the event may apply, on a first come first served basis.

These smaller events will allow organisers to implement Covid secure measures if necessary, ensuring the safety of visitors and staff.

The traditional Sports Mela will be making a return to Albert Park at the end of July (date TBC), offering up fun family-friendly activities like Mela yoga, tennis and roller skating.

The Family Mela will be held in Albert Park on Sunday, August 8, with a jam-packed programme including street food from around the world, live music, dance workshops, a circus tent and a funfair.

Middlesbrough Town Hall will also be hosting a micro Mela weekend on August 14 and 15. Guests can expect a full programme including street food, great live comedy and world music.

Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough Council's Executive Member for Culture, Communities & Education said: "Middlesbrough Mela is such an important event for the town and its communities, so it's amazing to see it back for 2021.

"Although we're running much smaller events to keep people safe, there's still plenty for people of all ages to enjoy. It's a real celebration of the diversity of our town."

In addition to the micro Melas, this year's festival will include a special activity on Saturday, August 7.

A yoga and storytelling event at Stewart Park will take people on a journey through the enchanted story of Sara, with simple yoga poses just perfect for mini yogis. Time TBC closer to the event.

The full programme for Middlesbrough Mela 2021 is being announced throughout June.