THE crowds defied heavy rain to answer an invitation to a giant community party - Sale Festival 2014.

A host of lively and colourful events from live entertainment to cruises on the canal took place in the town centre on Saturday and festival chairman Garth Jones said the opening was, despite the weather, a great success.

Garth said: “The first real event was the Summertime Sounds in The Square. Dancers and other acts entertained shoppers and other visitors in The Square despite the heavy rain. It was a highlight to see the dedicated young people carrying on in the rain.

“Following this there was a procession of decorated boats organised on the canal by Sale Cruising Club. The mayor elect of Trafford, Cllr Malik, was aboard as the boats sailed to Timperley and back.

“I am looking forward, with the rest of the Committee, to a full week of music and new drama, school choirs, a demonstration of floral arrangements and also the photographic exhibition and judging in the gallery at the Waterside Arts Centre.”