A “STAGGERING” number of people turned out at the weekend for a festival revived after a decade’s absence.
The New Milton Summer Carnival drew huge crowds on Saturday, with visitors enjoying live entertainment, displays, stalls and a barbecue.
Many also watched a procession through the town to the recreation ground.
The event opened the Lions Club of New Milton’s Centennial Festival, which runs until Saturday, July 15.
It is the first time the carnival has taken place in 10 years.
Organiser Alan Watson said: “It’s just been the most fantastic day.
“It’s probably one of the best events we’ve held in many, many years.
“The whole day was helped by the weather, which has been great, but also by the community. People have really drawn together to support this.
“We’ve had thousands of people here, maybe even as many as 6,000.
“It’s just been absolutely wonderful.”
The carnival, believed to be one of the largest events to take place in New Milton for many years, attracted visitors from across the New Forest and the south.
Mr Watson said: “Looking out now in the late afternoon, there’s still a huge crowd here, despite the fact that the burgers have all been eaten.
“It’s been one of the best days for the town.”
He said the day has been worth the months of effort that have gone into organisation.
“People have been very generous indeed,” he said.
“We haven’t counted up all the donations that went into the buckets during the parade, but they’re feeling very heavy now.
“Visitors have been incredibly generous.
“Every penny we raise here goes straight to charity. Every single penny donated will go to a good cause.
“That’s the ethos we have at Lions clubs.
“We’ll have a significant amount to distribute after this, so that’s fantastic.
“Seeing how many people turned out has been absolutely staggering.
“I’ve never seen so many people in the high street on a Saturday.”