THOUSANDS of people lined the streets as the Radcliffe parade returned for what spectators described as "the best and biggest" display to date.

Morris dancers and majorette troupes put on a dazzling display as they proceeded along the traditional route through the town this afternoon.

The parade is a highlight of the annual Radcliffe Carnival — a weekend-long celebration that is instrumental in bringing the town together.

Radcliffe Brass Band led the marching parade, and were joined by other musicians including drummers and percussionists from Bloco Ashe Bury Samba group who brought the streets alive with their rhythms and beats.

Tracy McColl who attended with her nine-year-old daughter Lucy, said: "I have been coming to watch the parade nearly all my life. The fair is the highlight for us.

"This year's parade was the best that I've seen. The carnival brings the whole town together."

Sisters Irish McDonagh and Patricia Smith, who live off Turks Road, were among the crowds who were watching the parade as it passed along Ainsworth Road.

"We are here to support our town", they said.

"This is the best parade yet. The organisers have worked really really hard to get all these people to take part.

"The whole thing was fantastic. We thought it was brilliant. It really boosts the town — and Radcliffe really needs that."

The parade set off from Red Bank Field at 2pm, heading along Ainsworth Road and Water Street, then through the town centre towards Festival Gardens before returning to Red Bank.

Spectator James Price, aged 63 and who lives in East Radcliffe, said: "It has been a really good parade. We come every year.

"We have seen lots of military vehicles. It is good that the town keeps it going.

"There is a really good turnout."

Radcliffe Borough FC, local brownies groups and a selection of vintage vehicles also formed the parade.

Throughout the weekend, visitors are able to enjoy traditional attractions and modern rides brought to Red Bank Fields by the returning Silcock's Fun Fair.

A selection of military vehicles and classic cars were also on display today, as well as an army assault course, charity village and a range of stalls to browse.

The long-running car boot sale will return to Red Bank on Sunday. The event will open at 7am until 1pm, with participating cars costing £12 and vans priced at £18.

Last year's carnival raised £1,000, which was distributed between Dementia Buddies, Radcliffe Cadets, Outwood Youth Club and Radcliffe Girls and Boys Club.