FUSING together the worlds of arts, entertainment and fashion in spectacular style, this year's Merchant City Festival boasts one of the strongest line-ups to date.

So far, more than 90,000 people from Glasgow and beyond have flocked to the cultural cauldron of the Merchant City for the famous festival, attending more than 300 performances in 75 venues.

However, organisers have promised this will pale in comparison to Glasgow's plans for the Merchant City Festival 2014, which will be the mainstay of the cultural programme alongside the Commonwealth Games.

Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council and chairman of the Merchant City Festival, said: "The festival embodies everything I love about Glasgow. It is ambitious, diverse, exciting and fun. The atmosphere is amazing and it brings so many people together.

"What we have planned for the Merchant City Festival in 2014 will really blow visitors' minds.

"It is going to be spectacular and Glasgow is definitely going to be the place to be in 2014. We will show the world that we know how to party."

In 2006, Melbourne spent about £5 million on a cultural festival to run alongside its Commonwealth Games. The 12-day event was billed as the largest free cultural festival held in Australia.

And with the 2014 Games approaching, organisers in Glasgow are determined to show off the best the city has to offer.

A spokesman for Glasgow Life, which organises the Merchant City Festival, confirmed the two events would be "linking up" in 2014, but said final details were still being discussed, while the organisers of the Commonwealth Games said the budget and details for the cultural programme had yet to be decided.

Owner and manager of the Boteco Do Brasil bar and restaurant in Trongate, Luigi Aseni, has high hopes for the festival in 2014. He said: "Everything we are doing this year and next is building up to the biggest and best festival in 2014.

"This year has been fantastic. There is a great party atmosphere and more and more people have been getting involved. I know we will continue to build on this and make the 2014 festival the best it can be."

Now in its eleventh year, the five-day cultural event, which ends tonight, has become a fixture in Glasgow's events calendar, helping to establish the Merchant City as a cultural quarter in its own right. Scores of stalls offer clothing, crafts and jewellery, competing with colourful food stalls selling the produce of a host of exotic cuisines.

Transforming the city into a playground of colour, music, entertainment, food and drink, the festival's biggest programme to date has featured a variety of entertainment ranging from comedy to music, keeping crowds entertained at venues including The Brunswick, Blackfriars, City Halls and the Old Fruitmarket.

One of the earlier highlights was the Merchant City Festival parade on Wednesday, which added an explosion of colour to the closed-off streets.

A bizarre addition to this year's programme was the Big Man Walking Parade, during which a fully animated eight-metre-tall puppet went walkabout, terrifying and delighting visitors in equal measure, as it was led through the Merchant City by the Boteco Do Brasil Brazilian Band on Friday afternoon.

The programme this year includes a sporting theme to celebrate Glasgow's status as an Olympic City and the countdown to the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Darren Scott, general manager of Metropolitan, at the heart of the festival in Merchant Square, added: "There has been a real vibrancy and energy about the festival this year, especially with the sporting theme.

"I think this has been the best start to the Merchant City Festival. It has been really lively and vibrant. I'm sure we will continue to build on this, as we work towards the festival in 2014."

Matheson added: "The festival was moved from its usual September slot to tie in with the Olympic and Commonwealth Games

"It's clear that its quality is increasing every year and this year has been the biggest and best yet.

"The Merchant City Festival will be the cultural heart for what we have planned for Glasgow in 2014."