A HOST of mystical creatures and magical symbols shone through the evening dusk as 3,000 people took part the ninth annual Sharrow Lantern Carnival.
Dragons and unicorns, flying deer and even a rabbit in a hat were held proudly aloft as the procession made its way from Mount Pleasant Park to the General Cemetery.
For months the people of Sharrow and its surrounding neighbourhoods had been dreaming up the wonderful shapes that lit up the spring night sky.
Since January the Creative Action Network, which has organised the annual extravaganza since 2004, has been holding lantern-making workshops every week in Sharrow Old Junior School and Highfield Trinity Church, based this year around a theme of magic.
All that work and creativity paid off on a glorious spring evening on Sunday, as the community marched to a samba beat through the Leverton estate to Cemetery Road.
Organiser Luisa Golob said: “This event is all about getting out and celebrating Sharrow and our community.
“There has been real enthusiasm this year – people have been really interested and the workshops have been really well attended since the very beginning.
“The driving force is bringing people together for these free workshops, giving people the opportunity to come together every weekend and be creative.
“It’s wonderful meeting people you might not necessarily meet otherwise and celebrate the neighbourhood.
“And people love that – we’ve even had people move to Sharrow because of the carnival.”
Father-of-three Simon Dewick, aged 52, of Rampton Road, Sharrow, sporting a rainbow lantern, said: “It’s a great festival, it’s always a beautiful expression of connectiveness.
“Sharrow has got a real sense of community. The diversity of this area is wonderful.”
Mike Wicksteed, aged 45, from neighbouring Nether Edge, attended one of the workshops the day before the festival, where volunteers helped him construct a giant flying fish.
“It’s a great idea,” he said. “Everyone seems to be having a great time.”
Chris Bentley, aged 25, who helped out at the workshops, said: “The great thing about Sharrow and Nether Edge is that everyone seems to get along and talk to their neighbours.
“There’s a real sense of community.”