Thousands gathered for the revival of this year's major event created by Cardigan-based Small World Theatre to mark the start of the festive season.

Cardigan's mayor Sian Maehrlein and the mayor's escort David Maehrlein were in attendance.

Musicians and giant lanterns led hundreds of people through the town and into Cardigan Castle to the delight of thousands of spectators.

This year 'upmarket' Cardigan was named by The Times as one of the prettiest towns for Christmas shopping.

Lantern cardigan
The lantern parade in Cardigan (Jennie Caldwell)

Last weekend saw the switch-on of the Christmas lights and Cardigan's independent cafes, shops and galleries transformed their windows into winter wonderlands to welcome shoppers.

"We're all delighted to see the Cardigan Giant Lantern Parade return.' said Cllr Elaine Evans. "It is the cherry on the cake for this bustling town, and for a lot of people this will be the highlight of their Christmas. Congratulations to Small World Theatre and the community."

Fifteen giant paper and willow lanterns were inspired by the 'Fantastical Beast' theme including a minotaur, griffin, boar, phoenix, rainbow, dove, and a life-size baby elephant puppet made by Small World Theatre. With Space to Create artists lending a hand at the event and creating a beautiful swan and a unicorn.

Cardigan lantern
The event drew a large crowd to the town (Jennie Caldwell)

Other large lantern creatures were made by Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi's sixth formers as well as a beautiful show of pyramid lanterns by pupils from Ysgol Gynradd Aberteifi.

In the run up to the event, the parade received funding from Cardigan Town Council, Ceredigion County Council, Leafed Through community bookshop and a public fundraising campaign.

“Let's hope that the resounding success of this year's Parade is recognised, and we get the support we need to make this an annual event" said Small World Theatre's director Ann Shrobree.

"Thanks to everyone who helped; stewards from Cardigan Show and Barley Saturday Committees, Cardigan Castle, Cardigan Town Council, Cardigan's traders, musicians, performers, volunteers, St John's Ambulance and so many more.' "Well done everyone – you were all stars!”