THIS year’s Bicester Carnival promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Taking place on Saturday, a procession of decorated floats will leave Bicester Leisure Centre, in Queens Avenue, at noon and weave its way to Pingle Field, off Pingle Drive, where the carnival will open.

A host of activities will then take place, including a chance for youngsters to try out some of the kit used by soldiers to find improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in conflicts such as that in Afghanistan.

For the first time troops from the Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Munitions and Search Training Regiment (DEMS Trg Regt), based at St George’s Barracks, in Arncott, and opened last April, will bring equipment along.

A children’s fancy dress parade — with the theme of children’s book characters — will take place at 1pm.

There will be stalls, games, fair rides, a bouncy castle and refreshments.

Entertainment in the main arena includes soccer skills, martial arts and dance, and music from band The Ramps and teenage singer Jamie Felton.

Mayor Lynn Pratt, who will travel in the procession in a pink cadillac, said: “Lets hope the weather holds out.”