CROWDS of residents and visitors turned out for the Christchurch Carnival on The Quomps today.

Visitors were entertained by live music from local artists, bike stunts courtesy of Urban Display and performances from dance troops and belly dancer groups.

Although organisers suffered a few issues in the lead-up to the event, they said they were “overwhelmed” by the support of partners and the community.

Organiser Melanie Blackman: "We are the first big event that has taken place in Christchurch since the pandemic, so we didn’t really know what to expect.

"We have had some issues with acts being pinged and cancelling at the last minute, but the community has been incredible.

"Earlier this week, we made a call out to find someone to cover one of our afternoon slots and within a day, we were inundated with responses."

Changes had to be made to the event, which has been running for more than 100 years, as the popular parade had to be cancelled as staff couldn’t guarantee the safety of visitors.

However, tomorrow’s dog show, which is usual held at the same time as the parade, is set to be a popular event.

Melanie added: "The only thing we have had to pull out of is the parade. It is a shame but if you look at the numbers we usually get lining the high-street, it would have been impossible to manage.

"As we aren’t hosting the parade, we have had huge numbers of people entering the dog show and we have gone big with the dog show.

"Staffie Stray and Rescue are putting the show on, and the mayor will also be down to judge the final category for which dog she would want to take home.

Tonight will see the popular Cher tribute act take to the main stage, provided and hosted by Absolute Music, one of the event’s main sponsors, before the firework display out on a barge in the River Stour.

Operations Managers at Absolute Music John Denton, who is also a member of the organising committee, said: “So far the weather has been good to us, and it is great to be doing this kind of thing again.

“It is small, we have tried to keep it community focussed and have just local bands and artists playing. We have had Galaxy Thief play on Friday and Total Madness who played here back in 2018.

"The people of Christchurch have been crying out for something like this for ages. There have been a lot of events that have cancelled so it is great to put this on for the community."

The Christchurch Scouts Active Support Unit, one of event’s longest serving organisations, have been providing people with refreshments in the form of teas and cakes since the morning.

Kelly Gee, Christchurch Scout Active Support Unit manager, added: “This is usually our biggest fundraiser of the year, so we are very pleased to be back

“We have been baking cakes and making other things. All the team members have got involved

“It is wonderful to be here. For us, this is our first public event we have attended, and it is great.”