THOUSANDS of residents are set to join the fun at Leigh Carnival today, Sunday.

Leigh Carnival 2019 - Carnival in Motion will provide a wealth of entertainment to keep people on the move.

The free event will begin at 10.30am when Matthew Melling, known as The Wigan Runner, will complete a 5k run.

Matthew, who has run every day at different places across the world since January 2017, will set off at the carnival site at Spinning Gate car park.

He will complete a journey of the town taking him through Butts Bridge and along Green Lane, Holden Road, The Avenue and Bradshawgate before returning to the starting point.

Matthew will then get in a vehicle that will lead the parade at 11am featuring a range of bands and community groups.

The parade will head through the town centre including colourful characters such as famous Leigh scientist Kathleen Drew Baker.

Leigh Journal:

The parade passes through Bradshawgate at last year's carnival. Picture: Kieran Dandy

Vehicles from David Brown Tractors and Leigh Scooter Club will make an appearance along with Leigh folk legend Jesse's The Cropper's iconic bike, which has been spruced up.

Three sets of drummers along with marching groups will keep the beat up for the parade.

It will pass through Bradshawgate, Union Street, Lord Street and Brown Street before heading back to the carnival site.

There will be performances on stage from noon, with a line-up that is set to be announced, and a large Silcocks funfair will be there as well as a host of activities and stalls.

Leigh Journal:

A bagpipe band performing in the parade at Leigh Carnival 2018. Picture: Kieran Dandy

Ahead of the event, joint organiser Stewart McGarrie said: "I have been excited about this year's carnival since last year's finished.

"There were around 7,000 people that came to the carnival overall last year.

"I had never seen so many people on Bradshawgate before; it was really impressive.

"Seeing so many people with happy smiling faces makes having the event worthwhile."

The annual event returned to Leigh in 2017 after a break of around 20 years with the Carnival of Colour.

This was followed by the Carnival of Sound last year.

Stewart said: "Two years ago the carnival was at the town hall and we were completely overwhelmed by the turnout so last year we moved it to a larger space at the car park.

"It is obvious that the people of Leigh enjoy the carnival and they were waiting for it to come back again after it was away for years."

Other attractions at the carnival include an entertainment bus with a climbing wall, a dodgeball game led by The Wigan Runner and a mini steam train that will pick up passengers from Gas Street to the site.

A range of food and refreshments will be on sale at the event, which is expected to finish at around 4pm.

The carnival's committee has met up every two weeks in preparation for the event.

It has five members; Stewart, Vicky Tyrrell, Helen Loynd, Michael Oakes and Adam Whittle.

Stewart has also praised the support of Wigan Council, and in particular its town management staff Jeremy Bell and Lee Connor, for their help in organising the carnival.