FORECASTED rain stayed away and hundreds enjoyed the Maindee Festival under blue skies on Saturday afternoon.

The event, which was based on a festival theme, took its inspiration from Latin America and the imminent World Cup in Brazil.

'Festiballs' - which had been made by the community - were rolled along the route from midday, adding a particularly decorative and colourful note to the proceedings which started at Rodney Parade and finished at Maindee Primary School.

One of the organisers of the festival, Maindee resident Raza Sardar, said the key was in the preparation, with everything going well following planning which began just days after last year’s festival had wrapped up.

Mr Sardar said: “It is a year in the planning. As soon as this is over we'll have a meeting for next year's.

“The weather turned just in time, which was good, and the parade was well-organised and colourful.”

The 'festiballs' were created by dozens of families who got involved during a number of workshops held recently as part of the festival fun, which aims to bring people together in celebration of community spirit.

Lead by artistic director Andy O’Rourke, the workshops at Maindee Primary School ran over three days.

Festival secretary Alison Starling said previously: “Every year we have art workshops as part of the parade.

“Normally we got to schools but this year we decided to open it up to any age –from five years-old to 105.”

Large and impressive models, or 'giants', were also carried by volunteers as part of the parade. They were made by the Newport-based arts collective, Malarky.

A member of the group, Chris Wood, said several of them were now considered themselves festival 'veterans' after being used in several events.

They included the group’s Maindee Woman, Maindee Man, and models of a crane, a heron and a little egret. Little egrets are native to southern Africa but nest in the Newport Wetlands, Mr Wood said.

Kathy Biggs, from the Brecon Samba group, who led the parade, said she had enjoyed taking part in the "lovely, fantastic" festival, which she had last participated in about ten years ago.

The Mayor of Newport, Cllr Matthew Evans, said: “It has been a great occasion today. It is always wonderful seeing the community come together. There is a really good community spirit.”

The Newport East MP, Jessica Morden, added: “It is beautiful today. We were worried about the weather but it has not rained on the parade so all is well. In fact, I like it when it’s not quite so hot.”

The festival's full programme of events also included a music and dance performances over two stages, A Maindee’s Got Talent competition, and the all-new spoken word tent called ‘Cwtch’.

A range of delicacies and refreshments were supplied by international food stalls and a bar.