THE Headland Carnival was given a royal thumbs-up as the gates on the annual town fair swung open.
Within minutes of the opening, dozens of people were on the Headland Town Moor to get their first glance at the rides and stalls on offer over the next 10 days.
The Carnival’s King, Queen and Princess declared the fair open along with Councillor Carl Richardson, chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council.
The large crowd enjoyed top class performances from town cheerleading group the Hartlepool Hawks and the Teesside Twirlers before getting the first taste of the variety of rides.
Daring residents can take on 60mph thrill-seeking rides, or relax on calming merry-go-rounds at the fair.
John Murphy, 82, who organises the rides for the annual event, said he is pleased to offer another fantastic fair to the people of the town.
He said: “I look forward to this every single year.
“We always get a fantastic turn out of people who thoroughly enjoy themselves.
“It’s a nice place for people to come and have a good time.”
As previously reported in the Mail, 12-year old Robyn McLeod was named as this year’s People’s Princess and Audrey Wallace, 48, was announced as Miss Carnival winner.
Robyn and Audrey joined Carnival King Mark Lupton, 40 at the opening of the fair.
Robyn, who lives on the Headland with her parents Allison Hart and Paul McLeod, along with brothers, Jake, 15, Jamie, 14, and Joe, 10, said: “I still can’t believe I won the princess competition.
“It didn’t seem real.
“I was quite nervous to come here and help to open the fair, but I have really enjoyed it.
“I can’t wait to have a go on some of the rides, I like rides like these ones, there are quite a lot I want to have a go on.”
Event organisers have been over the moon with the start to this year’s Carnival.
Chelsea Lupton, who is a member of the carnival committee, said: “The sun is shining, plenty of people have came along, it’s all going fantastic and there is still plenty to come.
“The committee would like to thank everyone who has shown their support, traders and publicans on the Headland have been fantastic.”
The fun and games of the carnival continue this weekend.
The Baby Contest takes place in the Headland Social Club, in Throston Street from 10.30am tomorrow.
Entry is free from 10am.
Families can enjoy an action-packed fun day on Sunday.
The event, featuring a bouncy castle, magician and a range of stalls takes place in the Headland Town Square from 1pm-5pm.
Youngsters can try their hand in a sand design competition at Fish Sands on Monday from 11am-12pm.