UNSETTLED weather failed to stop the fun at the 36th Otley Carnival.

This year’s event took place on Saturday, June 15 and attracted big crowds both to cheer on the parade and then enjoy the attractions at the Carnival Field.

Led by Otley Bellman Terry Ford and the City of Leeds Pipe Band, the parade set off from Leeds Road at 1.15pm in cloudy, but dry, conditions.

The dry weather held, thankfully, for the next couple of hours which meant the procession of flamboyantly decorated floats and walking groups, marching bands, dance groups and vehicles carrying VIPs all escaped a heavy downpour which arrived later in the afternoon.

Otley Carnival’s Publicity Officer Nigel Gill said: “Although the weather had forecasted rain it held off for the parade, which had six moving floats and various walking entries, and the forecast didn’t deter people from thronging the route.

“The parade was led by Otley Bellman Terry Ford and included vehicles ranging from a Saab convertible and a 1951 AC Buckland car to a 1984 Leyland Roadrunner - which transported the Carnival Queen, Consort and retinue.

“On their journey the crowds were entertained by the City of Leeds Pipe Band, Otley Brass Band, Otley Ukulele Orchestra, Foxwood Steel Bandits, Belebele, Westgate Cheerleaders, Coney Park and Jamba Community Samba Band.

“After the parade finished crowds descending to the Carnival Field to see Niamh Emmett Casey being crowned Carnival Queen and watched displays in the main arena which included the K9 Quackers Sheepdog and Duck Display, High Adventure Sumo Wrestlers and Thompson School of Irish Dance.”

The environment, superheroes, wildlife and astronauts all featured prominently in this year’s parade.

It was The Whartons Primary School’s history-focused entry, however - packed with Roman soldiers and nobles - which ended up being declared Best Overall.

The Bridge Church, which faces onto the parade route, got into the spirit of the occasion by holding a Mad Hatter’s inspired tea party complete with fancy dress.

A spokesman said: “We had a very busy day serving friends and guests, many who return year after year, and were also able to provide shelter, tea and cake to those caught in the downpour as they left the showground to head back into town.

“Just over £850 was raised from the sale of refreshments towards this year’s church charity, the Joanna Project.”

A number of local councillors helped out with stewarding duties on the day while local MP Alex Sobel also found time to visit the carnival field.

He said: “It was great to pop down to the carnival on Saturday between my regular surgeries. The event was buzzing, as it is every year, and the floats were very impressive.

“I spent some time talking to parade entrants from Prince Henry’s Grammar School and the Ukulele Orchestra on their floats. I’d like to thank the organisers for their fabulous efforts once again.”

Carnival Chairwoman Rhona Smith said: “On behalf of the Carnival Committee I would like to thank the transport and local firms for the loan of their lorries, the car owners who carry the Retiring Queen and the Town Mayor in the parade, and to the schools, organisations, junior organisations and businesses who all helped to put on another wonderful and colourful parade.

“Thank you also to the townsfolk of Otley and visitors who came along to line the streets and put money into our collecting tins.

“Sadly the weather decided to let us down but not until people had time to visit the stalls and to watch the Crowning Ceremony, plus three of our arena displays. The committee extend their sincere thanks to everyone who came to support this, our 36th Carnival.”

Proceeds from the day will go to Chevin Socialites (Hug on A Tray), Marie Curie Aireborough Fundraising Group and Springboard Wellbeing.