POOR weather once again struck during Rustington’s carnival parade over the weekend.
Organisers of Saturday’s (June 14) festival had hoped the scorching summer sun of last week would hold out for the parade.
However, these hopes were dashed as grey skies rolled in and the heavens opened – twice – soaking both spectators and procession guests alike.
But, in spite of the dismal weather, which also washed out the grand fête on the recreation field off Woodlands Avenue, the indomitable spirit of the village could not be dampened.
Alan Kerry, of Littlehampton District Lions Club, which once again staged the event, said: “It’s typical English weather.
“Last year, we had the wind and this year the rain. We just can’t win at the moment, it was disappointing.
“By 3.15pm, we had cars coming into the fête arena to take their things away. That drove the rest of the people away. As soon as they started seeing cars taking things away they thought it was all over.”
He added: “Everyone’s spirits still remained high and they understood there was nothing we could do about it.”
The rain did, for the most part, hold off for the carnival procession. And there was plenty of creativity on show for this year’s ‘animal magic’ theme – particularly from the youngsters of the Rustington Schools Together.
Scores of children from the village’s three primary schools united to defend their best in parade title.
And they did so in style. The youngsters dressed up either as white bunny rabbits or magicians – with judges agreeing the pupils’ outfits hit the procession brief perfectly.
Their efforts were rewarded with not one, but two accolades – the youth decorative trophy and the coveted best in parade.
Councillor Graham Tyler, competition judge and chairman of Rustington Parish Council, said he was really impressed with the schools’ entry.
“I think for the three schools to work on the same theme and for everyone to get together was fantastic,” he said. “They really did a superb job.”
Georgian Gardens Primary School head teacher Bill Molloy, who was dressed as a giant white rabbit, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for the children to dress-up and join together. They really love doing it and it’s a great way to forge bonds between the three primary schools.”
More than a dozen groups took part in the procession, with everything from dancing troupes, bands and martial artists.
Once again, there was stiff competition in the best pom-pom troupe category, with three groups in contention, the Bognor-based Wonder Girls and Wonder Boys, Southern Starlights and the Regis Troopers.
However, it was the Wonder Girls and Wonder Boys who impressed the judges most with their colourful outfits and dynamic displays.
First-time entrants the mobile library services won the adult humorous category with their amusing cat costumes, while the Silk Road belly dancers were the victors in the adult walking section.
The Arundel and Littlehampton District Scout Band were narrowly pipped to second place in the best band category, behind the joint TS Implacable and TS Montrose Nautical Training Corps’ entry.