CARNIVAL dignitaries kicked off the grand opening ceremony by leading a vast procession along Hastings seafront.
Tribal dancers on Winkle Island gave a stunning display of Eastern dance before the procession wound through the Old Town and onto the seafront.
Mayor Kim Forward and MP Amber Rudd joined 18-year-old April Grant as she was crowned Carnival Queen for 2011, and carnival princesses Nicole Pavitt, 21, and Lucy Richardson, 16.
Drumming and dancing displays by local troupes made sure Hastings Old Town Carnival Week began with a bang.
Carnival co-ordinator Ian Porter said he was delighted with the community spirit on display.
“The opening procession is so important,” he said. “It sets the tone for the week ahead, and this year’s was fantastic.”
Ion Castro, spokesman for the Old Town Carnival Association, gave the heads of the procession a ride along the seafront in Happy Harold, the well-known vintage trolleybus.
He said: “They told me it was wonderful. Harold is something Hastings has that nobody else has. I could see the smiles on the crowd’s faces as we drove.”