A SEA of colour filled the streets of Swanage yesterday for the town’s annual regatta and carnival.

Hundreds of people dressed in elaborate costumes, dancing and collecting for charities weaved through the town centre and along the beach promenade for the much anticipated carnival procession.

Starting at 3pm and led by the town crier, crowds lined the streets to watch as the colourful floats, musical groups and dancers passed by.

Spectator Dianne Carter, who lives in Swanage, said her sister Janet Wood had travelled all the way from South Africa for the occasion.

“We always feel it is an opportunity to show off the town,” she added.

“It is something everyone around here is trying to nurture.”

Celebrating Britain was the theme for this year’s event, something watching holidaymaker William Napier felt the parade had pulled off with style.

“I’ve been coming for 15 years and it’s excellent every time,” he said.

There were floats decorated with Union Jacks and music from the kilt-wearing Ringwood Pipe Band to make for a very British occasion.

However, exotic belly-dancing and the vibrant music of Caribbean carnival group Masquerade 2000 added a diverse flavour.

Swanage resident Suzanne Large said she was impressed by the quality of the performers, reserving special praise for African dancers Rampage and the musical talents of the Meridian Corps of Drums.

“The people who organise the carnival are amazing,” she added.

“They all take a week’s holiday to make it happen and work so hard.”

The carnival continues until Saturday, with a packed schedule of family fun planned for the week ahead.

For more information, visit swanagecarnival.com