MORE than 2,000 residents from the Caerphilly borough and beyond gathered around the iconic castle on Thursday night to witness the annual lantern parade.

The River of Light began at the Caerphilly Railway Station Park and Ride and then made its way down to Caerphilly town centre, lighting up Station Terrace, Cardiff Road and St Fagans Street on its way to the finale on Crescent Road.

The parade finished with a fireworks display set against the backdrop of the iconic Caerphilly Castle at around 7.15pm, on a cold but clear night.

More than 800 lanterns had been made at the ever-popular River of Light workshops in the lead up to Thursday’s parade (Dec 19), which has grown over the years and now attracts thousands of people.

Spectators donned hats and scarves as the parade accompanied by a samba band and creative costumes made its way down the streets, lined with people of all ages.

The annual parade is the council's longest standing festive event, with people from across the borough and beyond in attendance at this year's extravaganza including 37-year-old Dianne Keates from Blackwood, who took part in the parade along with her six-year-old daughter, Katy.

Ms Keates said: “It is something quite unique where mothers can actually bond with their children and then take part in the event itself – it really is something for all the family.”

Lisa James, 24, from Caerphilly, said: “It makes you appreciate what we’ve got here in the town – the castle and the river around it is quite special. Everybody is in such great spirits this time of year and it’s great that the weather stayed away as well.”

Keith Davis, 38, from Maindee, Newport, was visiting the event for the first time along with his sons Jack, eight, and Tom, six.

Mr Davis said: “A colleague of mine mentioned this was on and I thought it would be a nice change for us because it’s not that far. I’m glad we came, the kids are having a great time and I’m getting into it as well.”

Ken James, Caerphilly council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This exciting event forms part of a jam packed festive programme taking place across the Caerphilly county borough from medieval markets to ice rinks.

“It is fantastic to see the finale of our annual Christmas events programme so well supported and growing each year.”