THE thrills and excitement of a popular annual event are back as the Headland Carnival burst into life yesterday.
The sun beamed down on the hundreds who gathered on Hartlepool’s Headland for the official opening of the Town Fair.
And as soon as Stephen Akers-Belcher, chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council, and the representatives of this year’s Miss Carnival and Carnival Princess competition had declared the fair open, excited youngsters dashed for their first ride of this year’s event.
The opening of Murphy’s Fair marked the start of nine days of activities, fun and games for all of the family.
The Hartlepool Hawks cheerleading team got proceedings underway yesterday with an action-packed and colourful performance.
Councillor Akers-Belcher then spoke of his pride at being involved with the popular event.
He said: “Coming from Hartlepool I have a lot of fond memories of the carnival, so this is a proud moment for me.
“It brings families from Hartlepool together, giving people the chance to meet up with friends from years gone by and to make new friends.
“It’s fantastic to have the sun shining as well, I remember lining up in the parade when I was a kid and it was pouring down with rain.
“Let’s hope the weather stays like this throughout the full carnival.”
John Murphy, the son of the founder of Murphy’s Fair, said: “The Headland Carnival is one of the highlights of our year.
“The people of Hartlepool always come out in force and there is always a fantastic atmosphere.”
Councillor Akers-Belcher and Mr Murphy were joined on stage by this year’s Carnival Princess Alisha Brannen, 13, runner up Sommer Goldsbrough, 11, and Chloe Mekins, 13, who finished third place as well as Jordyn Lupton, 17, who was runner up in the Miss Carnival contest.
Carnival Princess, Alisha said: “I was a bit nervous beforehand because I’ve never done anything like this before but I really enjoyed it.”
Miss Carnival runner up, Jordyn, added: “I absolutely love the carnival.
“I love the fact it brings so many people together, I’m looking forward to all of the events.”
Members of the Headland Carnival committee were delighted with the turn out at yesterday’s opening.
They thanked local businesses and pub landlords for their support in the organisation of this year’s event.
A committee spokesman said: “What a fantastic way to kick off this year’s carnival.
“The sun is shining and everyone has a smile on their face.”