THOUSANDS enjoyed a children’s parade which marked the official opening of the Brighton Festival.

It was the first parade since before the pandemic, with the last outing in 2019.

Around 5,000 children descended on the city centre dressed in colourful costumes along with teachers and parents.

The theme for this year’s parade was “rebuilding and hope”.

The Argus: Greta Thunberg in North StreetGreta Thunberg in North Street

Caroline Lucas MP was at the parade and praised the “powerful messages” being shown by the schools.

She said: “Fabulous to have the Children’s Parade back this year and what an amazing show.

“Full of colour, music and powerful messages about taking care of our precious planet and all its wonderful species.

“I loved the starling murmuration over the West Pier, the dragonflies, the bees and the swifts. In fact, all of it was just brilliant.

"Thank you to all involved.”

There were rolling and full road closures around the city, including North Road, Jubilee Street, New Road and Madeira Drive.

Returning to full capacity for the first time since the pandemic, Brighton Festival will run from May 7 to 19.

The Argus: Children marching at the paradeChildren marching at the parade

Among the 150 events, exhibitions, venues and shows on offer at the festival are the Children’s Parade, The Riwaq and more.

There were models of activist Greta Thunberg and broadcaster David Attenborough as part of the theme.

Meanwhile, other creations were of polar bears, bees, starlings and even Rampion windfarm.

The Argus: All smiles as the parade returned for the first time in two yearsAll smiles as the parade returned for the first time in two years

Our Lady of Lourdes Rottingdean school had pupils dressed as parrots for their parade. While Rudyard Kipling School in Chalkland Rise, Brighton designed a shipwreck with jellyfish and a shark.

Joanna Holland said: “Great turnout for the Children’s Parade today. Rudyard Kipling School created a magnificent shipwreck complete with jellyfish, a shark and an octopus or two.”

Pictures from the day show a wide array of creations and colours as people lined the streets in the city centre.

The Argus: Mayor Alan Robins with wife Val CrawleyMayor Alan Robins with wife Val Crawley

Mayor Alan Robins was in attendance for one of his last mayoral duties.

While Her Majesty’s lord-lieutenant of East Sussex, the Queen’s personal representative in Sussex, said: “It was such a pleasure to be at today’s parade and to see so many smiling faces.

“A fabulous way to launch this year’s exciting Brighton Festival. Congratulations to all who took part and made it such a colourful and special occasion.”

Carly Dockerill, another parent at the parade, added: “A fabulous morning at the Children’s Parade. Thanks to all the Saint Nicolas Primary School staff for all their hard work.”

Heathfield Community College said it wanted to add “some colour and noise” to the festival with its colourful display and drums.

Rachel Darlgarno added: “Brighton at its colourful and creative best! We had a wonderful time at the Children’s Parade this morning.”

For more information on the Brighton Festival, visit its website.