ORGANISERS of the Bridgemary Carnival say they are overwhelmed after hundreds turned out to take part in the torrential rain.
Up to 300 people joined in the carnival through Bridgemary in Gosport, despite heavy downpours throughout the day on Saturday.
Children from local schools and clubs dressed up as trees, owls, foxes and ladybirds to fit with the forest theme as they paraded a mile-long route around the area.
And Lesley Ward, chairwoman of the Bridgemary Carnival Association, said she was thrilled with the turnout.
‘It was absolutely unbelievable,’ she said. ‘At one point we thought there would be nobody here. What was wonderful was the number of people who came in their costumes.
‘The costumes were designed to be in the sunshine. People were dancing and laughing and singing all the way through.
‘We had people coming out of their houses to cheer us on and standing on the roadside watching. I can’t express how grateful all of us are, who have spent 10 months organising this.
‘The people of Bridgemary have come up trumps again.’
Children marched along blowing whistles, singing and dancing in the rain. A samba band played to keep up the spirits.
The carnival atmosphere continued on the grounds of Bridgemary Community Sports College where there were stalls, rides, a bouncy castle and some live music.
‘Everybody was absolutely drenched,’ added Lesley.
‘When we got back to the field we all looked like drowned rats. But the atmosphere was absolutely unbelievable.
‘I am so proud of this community for what we have achieved. I really thought we weren’t going to have a carnival.
‘It was an absolutely wonderful day and all I can say is we’ve beaten the weather. Bring on 2012.’
Dawn Hayter, 46, from Elson Road in Gosport, said: ‘They were fantastic. They were really brave to come out in this. They were absolutely soaked.
‘It was a good turnout and they have got good spirit. It’s the best carnival.’
Maggie Tucker, 59, from North End, added: ‘It was brave and good for them not to call it off. It has good community spirit.’