Cromer carnival parade report and pictures
Pirates, pearly queens, cowboys and cartoon characters snaked through Cromer last night as the carnival parade wove its colourful magic and echoed through the resort's busy streets.
Bumper crowds lined the pavements to watch scores of floats and fancy dress characters punctuated with marching bands and booming pop music.
They ranged from cute Disney dwarves and children dressed as jellyfish to a ghoulish gun-smoking pirate ship dangling with severed heads, whose mast had to be removed to stop it ripping down the carnival bunting.
Gymnasts mingled with circus bearded ladies, Buzz Lightyear, Snow White, and a flamboyant Freddie Mercury who was proving a big hit with the crowds.
The overall winner was an Indian elephant creation by three local families, the Bonds, Royalls and Bakers.
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Carnival chairman Tony Shipp said the 57 floats were up on last year, and the quality was 'excellent, with colourful and imaginative ideas - both new and traditional.'
The crowds were also the biggest for many years, and there were record numbers on the carnival field where gate receipts were up.
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'It has been perfect carnival weather - sunny but with a slight chill to keep people off the beach. And the Red Arrows earlier display this year meant people were in town longer.'
It was 11.30am on the dot when Red Arrows swept in to dance and draw smoke trails in the sky over the seafront, watched by crowds lining the cliffs, pier and zig-zag paths.
But there was a different look to the nine-strong flying team as the lead plane was black, rather than the squad's trademark red.
Squadron Leader Graeme Bagnall, commentating at the carnival field, explained it was due to technical difficulties with one of the jets, which saw a spare Hawk training plane drafted in.
Crowds cheered and applauded the skills of the fliers who included the Arrows' first ever female pilot Kirsty Stewart, who was once based at RAF Marham.
The moves included a new 'whirlwind', where the pilots simultaneously rolled 360 degrees as they sped above the shoreline, as well as the favourite painting of a giant heart in the air.
During the day there were also arena thrills from motorbike and dog display teams as well a precision parachuting from the Tigers freefall team.
There were some morning problems for people trying to get to the carnival by train when passengers were left behind at Hoveton and North Walsham when there was no room on two trains heading to Cromer.
A National Express East Anglia spokesperson said they had provided an extra morning train from Norwich and a half-hourly service between Sheringham and Cromer based on previous years.
They were sorry some passengers were 'delayed at intermediate stations because of the volume of people travelling in the mid-morning period'. Extra buses were put on to supplement the service, which would be reviewed for next year.
CARNIVAL FLOAT WINNERS
Overall: Delhi the Ellie - Bonds Royals and Bakers
Spirit of the carnival: Me and My Girl - Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society
Articulated lorries: 1 The Greatest Show on Earth - Cromer Parish Church, 2 Christmas - Bure Valley Railway, 3 Pirates - In Touch Systems
Rigid lorries: 1 History of Cromer RNLI branch - RNLI Cromer, 2 High School Musical - Seaside Special, 3 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - ACS Scaffolding (Elle Atkins)
Towed trailers and any vehicle: 1 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Marsh and Mindham families, 2 Toy Story - Lynes family, 3 Pirates - Cromer Carnival Children's works
Decorated cars, vans and coaches: 1 The Puppet School at Pedlar's Barrow, 2 Me and My Girl - Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society, 3 RNLI Sheringham
Fancy dress 13+: 1 Delhi the Ellie - Bonds Royals and Bakers, 2 The seaside - Open Door Community Art, 3 The alphabet - Ingrid Campbell
Vintage vehicles and bikes: 1 Len Boyd - 1972 MGB GT, 2 David Judd - 1925 Morris Bullnose Oxford, 3 Kevin Elden - 1982 Ford Granada
Most entertaining float: 1 Pirates - In Touch Systems, 2 Cowboy Saloon - Drury's haulage, 3 North Walsham Hockey Club
Carnival events continue today (Thursday):
10.15am - North Lodge Park – Family putting and open bowl competition
2pm - Evington Lawns – Carnival party and 3pm picnic on the lawns
7pm - Pier forecourt – carnival fun run
8.30pm – Illuminated parade leaves Meadow and heads to Runton Road
9.15pm – Firework display with live music from Stonewood in the marquee