RAIN didn’t stop play as people turned out in droves for Devizes Carnival’s opening event, Picnic in the Park, at Hillworth Park on Sunday.

It rained hard in the morning but by the afternoon the sun shone.

Live music was provided by the After Lark Jazz Duo from Pewsey, The Barflys, Connie Lush and The Mankala Band from Bristol.

A drop-in circus workshop by Circomedia was packed with youngsters and adults having a go at tightrope walking, diabolo, juggling and plate spinning.

Catherine Boot, outdoor arts manager of the organisers Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts (DOCA), said: “It was a fantastic event and the turnout was very good despite the rain.

“It was my first time being involved and I thought it was an incredible day.

“The rain at 11am was torrential but by noon people had started to arrive and there was obviously a hardcore of people who support it every year who were determined to have a good time, whatever the weather.

“They were all putting up their tables and chairs and setting out their picnics. By 1pm the whole of the grass area in front of the music tent was full and then started to spill over onto the grass on the side.”

The park looked more colourful than usual thanks to the efforts of local group Crumbs – It’s Sew Devizes, which yarn-bombed the park with knitting, including bunting in trees and cushions to benches.

Jo Beal, artistic director of DOCA, said: “Once again, Devizes really punched above its weight with this opening event of the International Street Festival and Carnival fortnight.

“I was very pleased with the Picnic in the Park. We had an excellent turn out and the music was top quality – a mix of blues, jazz, country blues, samba, reggae and afro-beat crossover.”