IT looked more like a city than a town in West Wales as thousands of people lined the route of this year’s Llanelli Winter Carnival.

Crowds gathered at Spring Gardens to enjoy the funfair, live music, and the fireworks display. The main streets were doing a brisque trade as shops opened their doors later than usual to take advantage of this massive influx of people.

Stalls lined the streets selling everything from candyfloss to beef burgers. There were ample opportunities for Christmas photos with elves, snowmen and Father Christmas. It really was a fantastic sight to see so many people local and visitors enjoying what has become one of the biggest Christmas events in West Wales.

Children of all ages took part having worked hard to decorate floats. Parents, teachers, brothers, sisters, grans and grandpas all pitched in to provide a wonderful winter spectacle for all to enjoy, whether it be elderly Mrs Jones peeping out from her window on Sandy Road to the Mayor of Llanelli on his podium. Everyone had a birds-eye view of the numerous lorries taking part in the parade. Even part of the roads along Church Street had had a covering of new tarmac ahead of the event.

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Pics: Delyth Jenkins, Sean Lloyd, Calon Llanelli, Andrew Stephens, Jo Elizabeth & Natalee

There was a serious side to the carnival and that is the fund raising element by various organisations including the main being the Round Table who volunteer and collect money every year. A lot of money would have been raised and will go to local causes. As the fireworks lit up the Town Hall and people headed for home, those involved were justly proud of yet another successful Winter Carnival, which would rival anything you would see in any part of Wales. Llongyfarchiadau Pawb.

A brief History of Llanelli Chamber of Trade at Christmas, by Andrew Stephens.

Stalwart of Llanelli business, Andrew Stephens

Tonight is the 55th Year that Llanelli Town Centre has held the annual Christmas Carnival Parade. This was first started by Llanelli Chamber of Trade in 1964. Father Christmas was on the back of a vehicle and two lorry floats that were provided by haulage contractors Gwyn Nicholls and Tom Evans.

Sweets were bought by the Chamber from Woolworths and thrown from the lorries to the children supporting the carnival around the town.

The annual Christmas carnival was subsequently organised by Llanelli Borough Council. Today Llanelli Town, Llanelli Rural and Carmarthenshire County Council organise the event with Llanelli Round Table organising the carnival processions. Llanelli Carnival is now regarded the biggest Christmas Carnival in Wales.

In 1965 during the Christmas /New Year period the Chamber organised and started to install Christmas lights throughout the town centre. This was funded by the Chamber and local town businesses.

The annual Schools Christmas Light Competition, which is organised by Llanelli Rural Council since 2007 has been sponsored by the Chamber with vouchers for the two local children who won the competition from hundreds of designs. The judging panel is made up from Llanelli Town, Llanelli Rural and Carmarthenshire County Council along with Llanelli Chamber of Trade.

The town centre Christmas Shop Window Competition was introduced by the Chamber in 1973 and the market stalls competition in 1992. The St Elli Centre and Retail Parks are now included and has been organised since 2005 by Andrew Stephens

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