THOUSANDS of people are set to descend on Swanage next Saturday for start of the town’s popular regatta and carnival week.

The annual event, a huge boost for the local economy, attracted around a quarter of a million people to Purbeck last year, organisers say.

This year’s party is set to feature the usual host of colourful events, including an aerial demonstration from the Aerostars Aerobatic Display Team and an evening fireworks display to cap off Saturday’s opening day.

Sadly, due to a packed schedule because of this year’s Great War commemoration events, the RAF’s Red Arrows will not be attending.

However, it is hoped they will be able to return in 2015.

The main procession, that has the ‘Celebrate Britain’ theme this year, will snake its way through the town and along the seafront from 3pm on Sunday, July 27.

A carnival spokesman said: “There will be three amazing fireworks displays, art competitions for children and adults, a talent show, treasure hunts, a dog show, and water and land sports – about one hundred events in total.”

Revellers can also expect a host of live music and other acts on the main stage, Prince Albert Gardens, and carnival marquee, Sandpit Field, all week long.

“In 2013 we donated £20,000 to good causes,” said the spokesman. “Both local and national, and we hope to beat this again in 2014 with the help of our sponsors and you donations.”

Among the charities to benefit last year were Swanage Stroke Club and Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance.

The event runs from July 26 until August 2.