CARNIVAL TIME: It's Barnard Castle Meet
CARNIVAL TIME: It's Barnard Castle Meet

MORE than 300 people are expected to march along Barnard Castle’s high street as part of this year's Meet parade, making it one of the biggest in the history of the event.

Some 20 groups have already signed up for the parade which takes place on the bank holiday Monday, May 28.

The carnival parade is the highlight of the Meet weekend which kicks off on Friday, May 25, with the veterans football match at Tensfield at 6.30pm.

On Saturday, May 26, Not The Fun Run race comes under starter's orders at Scar Top at 10.30am, followed by Not The Boat Race follows at 1.30pm from County Bridge.

Events on Sunday and Monday have been moved back to the lower Demesnes, after being based on Scar Top and within the castle walls over recent years. Entrance is free.

Shona Robinson, of the Meet committee, said: “We just want everyone to get everyone down on the Demesnes and enjoying themselves.”

Events get underway with a pet show at 10.30am followed by family sports, including an egg and spoon race, welly throwing, cream-cracker race, tug-o-war and obstacle course at moon.

Throughout Sunday and Monday people can enjoy a bouncy castle and slide, hook a duck, rides on Blackpool donkeys and face-painting.

A feature this year will be a Saxon re-enactment group who will put up a village, complete with a forge.

They will demonstrate a variety of Saxon activities including spit roasting and needlecraft.

Bands performing from 1pm include Soul Band and Fever Key, Chris Pryke, The Banned, Renegade Juke Box and Deeper Season.

A Pimms and Prosecco bar and well as a licensed bar will be available, along with Brymoor Ice-Cream and various food vendors.

The highlight on Whit Monday is the parade which gets underway at about 1pm with a road closure through the town in place from 12.15pm to 2.15pm.

Ms Robinson said: “The parade is huge this year. We are looking at 300 people at this point, which is brilliant. I am a bit blown away by the amount.”

Spennymoor Town Brass band will perform at 2pm on the lower Demesnes, followed by a Punch and Judy Show at 2.30pm.

Bands taking to the stage, also from 2.30pm, include Pete 'n Sarah, Cool Confusion, The Kent Collective and The Whole Hog.

A full programme of events is available from Star Flowers and Oliver Twist’s Sandwich Bar, both on Horsemarket.

Also available are raffle tickets for £1 with a chance to win a first prize of £250, second prize of £50 and a variety of hampers.