Thousands turn out for parade

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Nelson’s streets were packed with smiles, colour, music and plenty of people on Friday night to celebrate the annual Masked Parade and Carnivale.

More than 3000 Nelsonians from 50 groups paraded through the inner city streets and crowds of thousands watching from the footpaths.

The party continued after the Masked Parade with the carnivale which saw crowds listen to a free concert at the top of Trafalgar St and enjoy food stalls and other attractions around the city.

Organisers say they were thrilled with the high level of spectator interaction and the huge effort many participants had put in to design elaborate and colourful costumes in the Adventurous Journeys theme of the parade.

Samba de Sol won the Kim Merry Supreme Group Award for their outstanding entry.

Nelson mayor-elect Rachel Reese says the parade and carnivale was another success this year. “It’s the one night of the year that’s highly anticipated and where Nelson comes together and comes alive. I was so impressed by the masks and costumes this year – such fantastic efforts by all of those who took part,” she says.

Sergeant Shane Miles of Nelson Bays Police says the Masked Parade was once again a great community event with very little trouble for police to deal with despite the large numbers drawn to the city centre to enjoy it. Four arrests were made during the event, three for breaching the liquor ban and one for possession of a knife. “Hundreds of cars were stopped at road policing check points and only one driver was found to be over the limit,” says Shane.

Police did respond to a number of minor disorder complaints shortly after the carnivale ended around the CBD and are investigating one assault complaint.”

Other winners of the parade were Karl Wulff for the best individual, Leshan Dance Troupe for second best group, Hampden St School for best school and Appleby School for second best school.

For more information about the festival visit www.nelsonartsfestival.co.nz.