Homes and businesses on the Headland have embraced the carnival spirit ahead of today’s big parade.
Judging took place yesterday in Hartlepool Carnival’s best dressed house, garden and business competition.
Organisers were bowled over by the level of effort entrants put in which they say really adds to the party atmosphere in the community.
Lumley Square looked awesome thanks to the artistic handiwork of residents Peter and Marie Sutheran.
They spent months crafting large and colourful cartoon characters for the whole street.
Peter said: “I do it because it is the spirit of the carnival and it is something for people to come round and enjoy.
They really take pride in it and the results are fantasticJudge Jason Anderson
“The kids who come round absolutely love it. I wouldn’t be able to do it without my wife and friends June and Linda who do all the painting.”
Among the characters on show this year are the cast of Fireman Sam in Peter and Marie’s garden, and elsewhere are The Simpsons, Wizard of Oz, Smurfs, Angry Birds, Disney characters, Flintstones and Dr Seuss’s Cat in the Hat.
The Chelsea Lupton School of Dance also put on a great show with their Music Through the Decades theme.
Chelsea said: “We do it every year. It is all done by the children and they put a lot of effort into it.
“It takes months to prepare.”
The judging was undertaken by Jason Anderson of Radio Hartlepool.
He said: “Each of the businesses, houses and gardens strive to pic a different theme so each year you never know what to expect.
“They really take pride in it and the results are fantastic.”
Gaiety’s pub on Northgate entered the best business and garden categories. It has turned itself into a wild west saloon.
Today staff will be dressed as cowboys and can-can girls.
The carnival committee were also impressed with Gaiety’s beer garden which is a riot of colour thanks to the skills of Douglas Veart.
Competition organisers hope the entries will encourage more people to enter in the future.
A carnival spokesman said: “We want this to grow and for people to embrace it. For a fortnight every year the Headland comes alive.
Hundreds of people are set to line the streets for Saturday’s fancy dress parade which starts at 4pm prompt from Town Square.