SINGERS, dancers and dozens of other entertainment acts filled the streets of Winchester yesterday (July 5) as the annual Hat Fair returned for its 45th year.

The first day of the UK’s longest running outdoor arts festival sprang to life just after noon with an opening carnival, featuring hundreds of pupils from local primary schools.

Beginning at the Great Hall, the cheering and chanting children were led by drummers and flag-bearers as they made their way down the High Street and towards Winchester Cathedral.

Before the event, Hat Fair director Andrew Loretto said: “I'm particularly looking forward to work that has been specially made for the festival.

“Audiences should also look out for an enigmatic fisherman appearing high up on roof tops, spectacular dance-circus at the bus station and an explosion of colour with our opening Carnival featuring hundreds of local young people.”

Later in the day, crowds were treated to performances in several different locations, including by the Buttercross, and near the Bus Station in The Broadway.

Performances, activities and installations will continue throughout the city centre on Friday and Saturday, with the festivities moving to North Walls Recreation Ground on Sunday.