Witches and wizards from Worthing, Adur and Arun swarmed the streets on Saturday for the Harry Potter themed Worthing Children’s Parade.
Children from 23 schools and Worthing Youth Council donned their robes and hats, climbed aboard their broomsticks and showed off their giant homemade ‘big makes’ of characters from the wizarding world.
This year marked the 21st anniversary of the first Potter book.
The parade, which started in Beach House Grounds and finished in Steyne Gardens after passing along the seafront and through the town centre, was organised by Caroline Woodward, head of art at Chatsmore Catholic High School. She said: “It totally surpassed all expectations. Everybody really went to town.
“All of the schools did fantastically well and produced the best quality big makes we have ever had.”
Ms Woodward estimated the trail of people taking part in the parade stretched for more than one mile, with around 5,000 people joining in with the fun.
Cafés and businesses across the town were rammed, she said, with some shops offering special parade-themed discounts.
“Businesses have really embraced the parade and the whole town came together to support our children,” said Ms Woodward.
“We now want to include loads more schools from around the area for next year.”
Visitors were treated to a surprise appearance from Dame Kelly Holmes, who had been supporting Worthing parkrun’s 100th race along the promenade.
As the parkrun finished near the parade’s start, Dame Kelly could not resist the chance to see what was going on.
“She was amazed and didn’t realise that this was going on,” said Ms Woodward.
“She chatted to the children and made sure she went over and spoke to people.
“It was a great surprise.”
This was the parade’s 11th year and was organised in collaboration with local comic convention Worthing Wormhole which takes place at Worthing Assembly Hall, in Stoke Abbott Road, on Saturday, November 10.
Preparations are already underway for next year’s event, which will be organised by St Andrew’s Boy’s School in Worthing where Ms Woodward will be taking up a new position.