Pictures by Scott Lovegrove

THOUSANDS of people packed the streets of Ringwood at the weekend for the town's annual carnival celebrations. 

Saturday's event even included a double whammy - with two processions taking place within hours of one another.

Anyone who missed out on the afternoon spectacular got a second chance to watch it in the evening.

Both processions included community floats, assorted vehicles, marching bands and steam engines.

The Meridian Corps of Drums, The Dolphin Marching Band and Raw Samba were just some of the bands providing musical entertainment.

Town resident Mark Watson, who attended the event with his young family, told the Daily Echo: "We've come along for the afternoon procession, but I think it is great that you get another chance to see it in the evening. Other carnivals should do this, it gives the event a different vibe with another procession towards the evening."

Another visitor said: "It is quite nice to have something like this to come to in September, after the schools have gone back.

"Otherwise there's just this big gap after the summer holidays.

"I've really liked the marching bands."

In between the two processions a host of activities took place at the carnival’s usual home of The Bickerley Green

The event is back after being held at Carvers Recreation Ground for the last two years, while Wessex Water installed new pipework and drainage to protect Bickerley Green from sewer flooding.

The green boasted a larger funfair this year, plus activities carried on later into the evening.

Among the attractions were live music, circus skills workshops and even Bollywood dancing. Also, making their debut this year was the New Forest Harley Owners Group.

Saturday's fun was rounded off with a fireworks display.

A Ringwood Carnival spokesman explained: "The Ringwood Carnival Society is a registered charity, established to organise and coordinate an annual carnival for the town of Ringwood.

"Through this ‘festival of fun’, the society’s aim is to raise and donate funds to local charities, organisations and good causes.

"These funds are awarded after each carnival."

Recipients of donations last year included Ringwood Junior School, Poulner Junior School, New Forest Nightstop, Julia's House Children's Hospice, Ellingham Day House Nursery and Cats Protection Ferndown.