Notting Hill Carnival gets under way

This year’s carnival is part of the build-up to the event’s 50th anniversary

Europe’s biggest street festival, the Notting Hill Carnival, has got under way with its children’s day.

More than one million people are expected to attend the two-day event in west London, featuring Caribbean culture, food, music and dance.

Giant floats and dancers wearing colourful costumes will make their way from Westbourne Park Underground station to Ladbroke Grove.

The main Carnival procession started at 10:00 BST.

Organisers say this year is part of the build-up to the event’s 50th anniversary.

The arenas will pay tribute to steel pan, the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago, which has played a pivotal role in shaping the carnival from 1964 to the present day.

The Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust said some people thought the first carnival took place in 1964, but others argue a street parade took place the following year.

However the trust said there was documentary evidence which shows the first event with performers, costumes, music and placards took place in 1966.

London mayor Boris Johnson said: “Carnival is a wonderful celebration and highlights what the Caribbean community does for London.

“I hope everyone has a fantastic time and a truly great event.”

Prior to the main carnival, the J’ouvert event from 06:00 BST opened the carnival with a procession and a paint fight.

Lorraine, a social worker from Berkshire, said: “Me and my friends have been getting up early and coming here for the last six years.

“It’s the most fun bit of carnival and there’s no trouble. It’s just dancing an throwing paint and powder over each other.”

A crackdown by police in the run-up to the carnival on 21 August saw officers make 126 arrests and seize guns, drugs and about £78,000.

Several of those arrested and released on bail will be banned from the carnival.

Officers known as “super-recognisers” are trained to spot them in the crowds if they ignore the ruling.

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