RAIN failed to stop play at Weymouth Carnival despite a day overshadowed by dark clouds and the cancellation of the day’s big crowd-pleaser.

Thousands turned out to watch the grand procession following a day of disappointment which saw the Red Arrows forced to cancel due to the poor weather.

Check out our picture gallery from the day here.

It was also a no-show for the day’s other aerial display, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and the poor weather was also blamed for a low turnout for some of the beach events.


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But despite the relentless rain the crowds came out to support the procession and those who had spent time making costumes and decorating floats.

It was a great show of support too for the carnival committee which have spent the past few months trying to rescue carnival, which faced a financial crisis at the beginning of the year. Businesses rallied round to save it following an appeal.

Carnival chairman Ryan Hope, pictured below, praised fellow organisers, sponsors, participants and spectators for helping with the day and battling against the weather to make sure it was a success.

He said: “The good people of Weymouth and Portland, and the people that love Weymouth Carnival, have still come out and supported us despite the weather.

“We have lost a few of the entries into the carnival but we have got a fantastic set of entries.

“I want to say a huge thank you to Weymouth Community Volunteers who have really stepped up in the organising of the event, and the entries to this year’s procession.

“We have had people down here all day building their floats and it’s fantastic to see that the rain hasn’t damaged their determination.

“At the end of the day, this event is for charity so we can’t judge whether it has been a success or not until we have the final totals, but this year we have had everything thrown at us, with worries over lack of money, lack of support, health and safety concerns and then the weather, but we were determined to host the carnival and we now have.”

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South Dorset MP Richard Drax, who was judging parade entries, said: “There has been a fantastic turnout considering the weather.

“The Weymouth and Portland spirit is alive and well today, and a huge congratulations must go to the people who have organised it. Everyone has put in a huge amount of effort and it has made it a fantastic success.

“The entries into the procession were of an exceptionally high standard and I do feel for them because they put so much time and effort into them and then it rains all day but they all look excellent and everyone is having a good time.”

Proceedings began in the morning with the crowning of carnival royalty at the New Vic and everyone hoping the weather would improve.

Crowds waved below the balcony as the newly-crowned royalty took a bow, and got the carnival underway.

Weymouth Carnival Queen, Cat Greenaway, from Radipole said she was over the moon to have been chosen, adding: “I guess I am not the usual and expected beauty queen - I am a 44 year-old mum-of-four with braces on her teeth. But I am so honoured to have been chosen and to represent Weymouth.”

Simon Holdsworth, 28, the new king, said that he was truly honoured to be part of Weymouth Carnival and prince Elliot Curley, 17, from Preston and princess Sophia Milton-Jewszel, 15, were both thrilled to have been chosen and were looking forward to the days’ events.

Speaking at the opening ceremony Ryan Hope, chairman of the organising committee for the carnival, said he couldn't wait to get the carnival underway.

He said: "I would like to thank everyone who has come down to the Weymouth Carnival. We have worked so hard for this for a year.

“It's going to be a brilliant day and I want everyone to really enjoy themselves.”

Mayor of Weymouth and Portland, Cllr Christine James, said: "I think Ryan is being very modest about what he has achieved.”

She added: "I am really honoured to be the mayor this year and to crown the prince, princess, king and queen.”

Di Williams, 34, from Weymouth said she was determined to come to the carnival and support a fantastic event.

She said: "Everyone has worked so hard to make sure this year's carnival is a success.

“There are so many stalls here, we've had a go at the archery which was great fun. Today deserves to be a success."

After the opening there then followed live music on the beach stage which continued into the evening.

There was also games on the beach and stalls set up on the seafront.

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Drizzle in the morning did not put the crowds off who flocked to the seafront but the weather got worse throughout the day, much to everyone’s dismay.

It led to the cancellation of both air displays: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Red Arrows.

The start of the sandcastle competition was delayed but once it was underway teams had one hour to build their creations.

Judges and Sandworld apprentices Liam O’Connor and Fynn Da Silver were joined by carnival royalty for the judging of the competition.

There were four categories: four to seven-years old, eight to 11 and 11 plus, as well as the family category.

The winning team for the family category of the competition was made up of Antonia Richardson, 30, Jasmine Thomspon, 12 and Hollie Richardson, 11, who built a castle inspired by Despicable Me’s famous Minions.

Carnival King Simon Holdsworth, 28, said: “I thought that their sandcastle was very creative and out-of-the-box.

Carnival Prince Elliot Curley, 17, said: “Who doesn’t love the Minions?”

Antonia said: “We’re very happy with our victory.

“The girls are minion fanatics. They decided what they wanted to build and I just came along to help.”

The winning teams were given prizes including a certificate and a discount off their next visit to Sandworld.

Liam O’Connor said: “The judging was a bit difficult but I think everyone did very well.

“The Minion sandcastle had a lot of detail in such a small amount of space.”

Beach events such as the space-hopper competition and the barrel race were not as well attended as hoped.

However the children who did take part still appreciated the chance to enjoy the beach.

Margaret Byrne who assisted with the beach sports said: “The kids have had great fun doing the barrel race and rolling in the sand.”

Karen Figgit, beach events co-ordinator for Weymouth Carnival said: “The children have really enjoyed it despite the weather they’ve really got involved which is good.

“I think spirits have still been high despite the weather.

“It’s a shame we can’t book the weather.”

Despite the rain which continued into the evening, the procession did not disappoint and although a couple of entries pulled out there was a hardy band of people ready to party as they lined up in the ferry terminal car park.

There was a wide variety of different themes and entries for this year’s procession, ranging from a Finding Nemo themed-float from Air107.2FM, a Baywatch-themed float called Gaywatch from the Closet nightclub, a dragonboat full of Vikings, a VE Day tribute from the Unicorn Carnival Club and a float based on the smash-hit Disney film Frozen from Stagecoach Parties.Dorset Echo:

There were seven award categories for the carnival entries, which were best float, chairman’s award, individual award, most charitable organisation, best walking entry, best licensed premises and the best youth group.

The winners of the awards are set to be announced Thursday and winners will be presented with their awards at the beneficiaries night.

Andy Carr, from Active Mobility, dressed up as a pilot as the firm ensured that there would be a display from the Red Arrows during carnival day.

He said: “The weather has been rubbish, but there’s been a good atmosphere throughout the day.

“The seafront was quite busy in the early part of the day but then the rain came and it got a bit quieter.”

Pat Squirrell and Lyn Attwood have been attending the carnival as spectators for years but this was their first year taking part in the procession, dressed as garden gnomes on mobility scooters.

Pat said: “We had a great ride through town and down the seafront, everyone was laughing along with us and everyone seemed really happy.

“People were sat in the shelters or under umbrellas hiding from the rain but were still in high spirits. It’s just absolutely fantastic.”

David Young, from Wiltshire, had brought his grandchildren on holiday to Weymouth and they were all dancing along to the carnival procession on the roadside.

He said: “It has been brilliant, the kids have been loving it and that’s what it is all about really, and there’s a good number of people here considering the weather.

Roger and Susan Abraham had travelled down from Kettering to see the Red Arrows but stayed for the entire day after the display was cancelled.

Susan said: “We were quite disappointed the Red Arrows weren’t on, we came down to see them but we decided to stay for the procession. I am quite surprised at the turn out, it’s really good to see so many people watching it”

Mrs Gameson had travelled down from South Wales especially for the carnival.

She said: “I have been coming down for the carnival for 19 years and I have never seen weather like this before on carnival day.

“But, the whole day and the procession has still been brilliant. It’s so good to see so many people, there’s a lot more than we thought there would be and everyone is enjoying it.

“We’ve all got our umbrellas and we are all dancing in the rain!”

  • Reporting by Lee Irving, Meghan Hindley and Tanita Matthews

Don't miss Thursday's Echo for a carnival picture special