PICNIC rugs and deck chairs lined the streets of Pall Mall on Easter Saturday, as dedicated festival-goers braved the cold for the Bendigo and District RSL Torchlight Procession.
The procession took a new parade route this year, starting in View Street at Rowan Street, turning left in Pall Mall, left into Chapel Street and concluding in Bridge Street.
The new route didn't seem to deter guests, despite earlier controversy, with hundreds turning out to pay tribute to Bendigo's community heroes.
Several illuminated floats were decorated in the festival theme Easter Bonnets – You Wear it Well and night dragon Yar Loong made a special appearance.
Hundreds line the streets, brave the cold to pay tribute
Chris Tyrrell and his family were one of many groups who traveled from Melbourne to take part.
"There's so much to see and do and we're here with our kids and their grandparents just getting involved in all of it," he said.
"We came a few years ago and decided to come back for the Easter egg hunt and fireworks and the parade.
"It's just unbelievable what's on offer."
And for those closer to home, the Bendigo Easter festival and torchlight parade has become a yearly tradition.
We come every year - it's just what you do in Bendigo.
The Mahon family joined friends at 6pm on Saturday to secure the best seats in the house.
"It's a great family thing and the children just absolutely rave about (the parade)," Rachel Mahon said.
"I think the thing they like most is staying up late and eating whatever they want over the weekend.
"And of course there's the excitement of the Easter bunny coming to visit.
"The procession is just one thing over the weekend that they love."
Bendigo's Marlene Hammer also brought her family along to "share in the Easter fun".
"We come every year - it's just what you do in Bendigo," she said.
"The kids get so excited and it's worth braving the weather to see the parade."
The procession was followed by fireworks at Rosalind Park.
The procession followed the awakening of the dragon - an annual tradition featuring an array of colour, costumes and noise.
The Dance of the Lions - with intricate and symbolic movements - was designed to tease the dragon before a spectacular finale of 100,000 firecrackers.