The New England Festival (formerly the Armidale Autumn Festival) filled the city's streets on Saturday with colour, culture and creativity.
The festival got a shorter parade route, and a more central location.
Despite threatening skies, wet weather held off; nobody likes having their parade rained on!
Sword-waving maniacs, multicultural groups, community organisations, and businesses paraded down Beardy Street, passed along Moore and Faulkner Streets, and finished in Dumaresq Street - a shorter route than previous years, omitting Rusden Street.
Armidale Pipe Band drum-major Mike Creagan said everyone was much more comfortable with the revised parade route.
The winning floats were:
- School: the Armidale Waldorf School;
- Business: the End of the Rainbow Fairy Shop;
- Community: the Bangladesh Cultural Society of New England; the Autumn Lodge Greek Heritage float;
- Other category: NSW Fire & Rescue Armidale; and the New England Antique Machinery Club
Given the dispersed nature of the crowd, an Armidale Regional Council spokesman said they did not have an estimated attendance number, but organisers judged the attendances to be on par with last year. There was a good concentration of spectators along the new parade route.
In the afternoon, the massed pipe band marched down Danger Street to the Mall, followed by a display of Scottish dancing.
In previous years, these were held in Curtis Park; they were moved to the centre of town to attract more crowds. The new venue seemed to work; the pavements were tight-packed.
The UNE International Hub held a Culture Fest in the Mall. Nigerian, Saudi Arabian, Iranian, Indian, Chinese and Vietnamese students served their country's dishes, including Szechuan chilli noodles, al kabsa (Saudi chicken and rice), and Iranian stews made with walnuts and silverbeet.
More musical entertainment was held at the Servies Club in the evening, with pipers and the Australian Army Band. The concert raised approximately $2000 for drought relief.
"The concert was just spectacular," Mr Creagan said, "equal to many other big concerts and shows I've seen."
The Australian Army Band will return next year.