Thousands of families turned out to enjoy the biggest ever Llanelli Christmas Carnival on Friday.
The spectacular parade wowed the crowds who lined the route from Sandy, right through to West End and Town Hall Square where there was also a huge funfair and live music on stage from Heart FM DJ Jason Harrold and a host of singing stars.
Street traders and local businesses have reported booming trade as people stopped to pick up refreshments and early Christmas gifts.
The event was topped off with a dazzling firework display over Llanelli Town Hall and the switch-on of the Christmas lights.
Organisers, Carmarthenshire County Council, Llanelli Rural Council, Llanelli Town Council and Llanelli Round Table, reported a successful event with everything running according to plan.
Llanelli Christmas Carnival is famous as being the largest carnival procession in Wales, with visitors descending on the town centre from far and wide to enjoy the festivities.
Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said it was a pleasure to see everyone getting in to the Christmas spirit.
“It is clear that the Llanelli Christmas Carnival is the highlight of the year for thousands of local families, and those visiting from further afield,” he said.
“I spoke to people who have never missed a carnival, and many more who said this one was the best yet. The parade was spectacular – so much hard work and thought is put in by so many community groups and volunteers who help make this event so special.
“We are proud to play our part in organising the carnival, and encouraging traders to open late and take advantage of the huge footfall that comes through in the afternoon and evening. We’ve had more traders and shops open than ever before – even Llanelli Library joined in with a Santa’s grotto. I’m very grateful to everyone who made such a special effort.”
Coedcae School won first prize for best float, judged by the civic dignitaries that played a part in the event.
Schoolgirls Lia Davies and Lucy Johnson were also treated to the VIP experience for winning a competition held across Llanelli primary schools to design Christmas lights. Their winning designs are now part of the Christmas decorations throughout the town centre.
Cllr Steven Donoghue, Chairman of Llanelli Rural Council, said: “Llanelli Christmas Carnival is the festive highlight, not just for Llanelli, but the whole of Carmarthenshire. It is a clear indication, not only of the commitment of the Town and Rural Councils to promote the town of Llanelli, but of the dedication, spirit and determination of the residents and businesses of the area to show everyone in South West Wales what Llanelli is able to provide.
“The carnival procession was one of the best I have ever seen – it was an honour to be part of the judging panel for the carnival and the Christmas lights competition. My sincerest gratitude and congratulations to everyone who took part and made Carnival Night 2016 a resounding success.”
Cllr Bill Thomas, Llanelli Town Mayor, added: “Once again the Llanelli Christmas Carnival was a huge success and I would like to thank those involved especially volunteers from the Round Table that ensure the smooth running of the impressive parade.”
The carnival was supported this year by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water.
RainScape Project Manager Teresa O’Neill said: “It was great to support and be part of the biggest ever Llanelli Christmas Carnival. We want to thank the hundreds of people who visited our stall to learn more about Welsh Water’s RainScape project, which will see work begin in and around Llanelli’s Station Road from January 2017. If you would like to know more about our RainScape work in the town, you can visit our team at the Hub in Stepney Street every Thursday, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”