A DESPERATE appeal has been issued by organisers of Ringwood Carnival after only a handful of floats were entered for its parade on Saturday.

With just days before the town’s annual showcase, organisers are urging residents to pull together and enter group, individual and walking entries to retain the town’s reputation of holding the biggest volunteer-organised carnival in the country.

Carnival spokesman Leigh Whitbread said: “This really is an urgent appeal. The numbers of entries are well down on previous years and we really need residents to enter now.

“Obviously with just a few days to spare we are not expecting large floats, but we do need other entries of pretty much any description.

“The processions really are the essence of the carnival. It is quite simple – your town needs you.”

Despite the low number of carnival entries, this year’s event is expected to see the largest selection of live music to date, with bands performing throughout the town all day.

Upwards of 10,000 people are expected to pack the streets for the annual fiesta, which will see Swing Unlimited perform in the Furlong, a jazz band play on the Bickerley during the afternoon before the Silver Beatles perform in the evening. Several rock bands will also be performing outside the Gateway building during the day.

There are a number of craft stalls planned for the Bickerley along with the fun fair, while stilt-walkers, jugglers, buskers and clowns will keep the crowds amused with street entertainment.

Sampson’s horses will lead the processions at 2pm and by torchlight at 7.15pm, with Carnival Queen Nancy Soloman, 16, and her attendants, Lizzie Treble and Annie Hopper, 16, heading the cavalcade.

The processions will leave Parkside Estate and wind their way around the town, raising thousands of pounds for local causes.

Michael Lingam-Willgoss, vice-chairman of the Carnival Committee, said: “We are working very hard to ensure that this year’s carnival provides a fantastic day out for those visiting the town.

“We are hugely appreciative of the incredible support we receive from the local community and businesses, which enable us to stage the event and donate money to worthy causes.”