31 May 2011
Last updated at 11:22
Carnival fever came to Luton on bank holiday Monday with the 36th International Carnival.
The heavy rain failed to dampen spirits with around 25,000 people braving the weather and enjoying the atmosphere in Wardown Park and Luton town centre.
The parade saw up to 2,000 people create an eye-catching procession through the town centre, reflecting the diverse mix of cultures in Luton.
The event is said to be Britain's biggest one-day carnival.
Every year parade participants are judged on the quality of their costumes and performance.
The judges this year were were faced with making some tough decisions to select the best groups. Winners of the Luton International Carnival 2011 parade will be announced on Saturday 4 June.
The elaborate costumes represent months of work by hundreds of local people.
From sea horses and Greek goddesses to Ghanaian warriors and Olympic rings, more than 50 carnival groups ignored the wet weather as they danced and sang their way across the town.
With masquerade groups and sound trucks, steel bands and stilt walkers there was something in the parade to entertain everyone.
The Mayor of Luton, Councillor Don Worlding, watched the procession from the Town Hall balcony and was impressed by the parade. "The creativity and colour was incredible and it is obvious how much time and effort went into them all," he said.
Commenting on one of his first official duties as Mayor of Luton, Councillor Worlding continued: “Seeing smiles on so many faces, particularly the young people, made me think about what a fantastic place we live in."
Event organiser Andy Grays, director of arts at Luton Culture, said: “While the weather meant that numbers were down from previous years, we are very happy with the smooth running of this year’s event which is a testament to all the hard work and dedication over the last year by our small events team."
Plans for the 2012 Carnival are already underway with the event being moved to July as part of a weekend-long Cultural Festival to coincide with the Olympic Torch coming to Luton.