BIGGER, better and louder. That was the verdict on this year’s Christchurch Carnival, which brought the town centre to a colourful standstill at the weekend.

Where else could you have found grown-ups dressed as animals, sci-fi characters and Father Christmas on a hot August afternoon?

See all our pictures from the carnival in our gallery here

Crowds thronged the route of the procession, led by the longest-serving town crier in the world, Malcolm Squire, and Pirates of the Caribbean antihero Jack Sparrow.

Live music came from the Christchurch Royal British Legion Band, while a variety of floats pounded out beats for zumba dancers, fitness classes and rollerbladers.

The cute factor was won by the 3rd Christchurch Brownies, dressed as strawberries.

In the 60th anniversary year of the Queen’s coronation, the parade boasted a right royal collection of carnival queens and princesses – from Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch – each travelling in open-topped cars.

One of the stars of the show was a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car built by NF Metalwork, which stopped at intervals on the route to the Quay to rise up and extend its wings to the amazement of small children.

Other unusual vehicles included a tuk-tuk, a classic old VW camper van and fire engines.

Julie Baker, vice-chairman of the carnival committee, said: “It’s been a big one this year with 39 entries. Last year, when we raised more than £1,000, there were 15 or 16.

“It’s been hard work but I love it. We’ve had lots of sponsorship and we’re doing really well.

“Local businesses have got behind us at last. We even got mentioned in The Times.”

She is planning to invite the community to bid for a share of the money raised by the event.