GALLERY: Families up bright and early to steal best vantage points for parade

UPDATE 12.55PM: Bendigo residents and tourists are not letting the cold weather dampen their spirits - people have come out in force pumped for the parade. 

The team of dragon legs were each having a heart-warming pie at 12.30pm to energise them for the walk ahead.

Friends Brendan Furness and Richard Pell have each been carrying the dragon for 10 years.

Mr Pell said it was "a fun thing to do". 

"I have kids who love seeing me do it," he said.

James Roberts, who has also been one of the dragon legs for 10 years, said the festival brought out the best of Bendigo.

"Everyone screams,'good on you mate' as I go past," he said.

As for the crowd, they were anticipating a good show.

Annette Stockwell said she loved the dragon and Sharon Ervin said she was looking forward to seeing her son Jake unicycle in the parade.

"I just love the atmosphere," she said.

EARLIER:

FAMILIES arrived in Bendigo's CBD as early as 5am on Sunday to save their spots for the Bendigo Easter Gala Parade.

Chairs and picnic rugs already line Pall Mall and View Street with the parade set to start at 1pm.

Samantha Budge, 20, saved her spot on the corner of View Street and Pall Mall about 7.50am.

"Nan wanted this spot so we came down here early with all the chairs for the family," she said.

"There are about 20 or more of us coming so we had to save a big area.

"You have to stay with your chairs otherwise you find people jump in front of your spot.

"We come down every year, it's a great family day."

Graeme Lazenby from Melbourne said he had been coming to Bendigo for the parade for the past 15 years.

"My sister lives here so every year I come up," he said.

"The parade is something different to what we get in Melbourne, it's good."

Graeme and his sister Gail Jones set up their chairs on the parade route about 9am.

"We've got the same spots as we had for the Torchlight Procession and Fireworks on Saturday night," he said.

Ms Jones kept herself busy making woollen coat hangers.

She was skeptical about the new parade route.

"There will be a lot of complaints," Ms Jones said.

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