THOUSANDS of people will take to the streets of Witney as the town's carnival returns for its most cosmopolitan year yet.

Fantastic floats will weave their way around the town on Saturday morning, before returning to The Leys for an afternoon of free family fun.

Revellers are encouraged to don costumes relating to a chosen theme, with this year's subject 'Carnivals of the World'.

Read also: In pictures - Witney Carnival 2018

Chairman of the festival organising committee, Brian Wright, revealed the theme was deliberately open to interpretation and is looking forward to seeing the range of ideas.

He said: “It’s slightly different to what we’ve had in the past.

"We’ve had a fairytale theme a couple of times before and Star Wars is always popular. It's an opportunity to have different costumes.”

The procession kicks off the festivities at 11am, with hundreds set to march along Church Green, Corn Street and the High Street.

Midday marks the start of the carnival itself, with about 10,000 people expected to turn out across the day.

The traditional donkey derby and dog show are among the highlights, while refreshments and arts and crafts will keep visitors busy.

Read also: All the pictures from this year's Cowley Road Carnival

Performers of all shapes and sizes will bring their talents to the arena, including the hotly-anticipated Bezerkas circus act, a new addition this year.

Mr Wright said the committee was 'keeping its fingers crossed' for the weather, with temperatures currently set to reach the low 20s.

The chairman admitted he would prefer milder conditions, after fears that last year's sun-baked event may have put off some people.

The carnival is organised by Witney's Lions and rotary clubs, Witney Round Table and the Air Training Cadets, while several businesses sponsor the event.

Although the carnival and most of the entertainment is free, Mr Wright is hoping to raise funds for local organisations where possible.

He said: “We’re extremely grateful to the sponsors. If we can make some money for charity then it’s even better.”