Music, food, street entertainment and workshops took place as Quarry Hill was pedestrianised for the ‘Big Send Off’.
Bid volunteer Stuart Senior, 64, of Pudsey, said: “This is the big push.
“I think Capital of Culture would bring is cohesion, particularly to the outlying areas.
“Hopefully when we are successful they will identify with Leeds as part of a greater city, instead of saying ‘I’m from Pudsey or Morley or Guiseley’.”
People enjoyed live music from groups such as Power of 5, a band of youngsters from South Asian Arts UK, based at Munro House.
CEO and artistic director Keranjeet Kaur Virdee said: “I think we are in with a good chance. It’s an opportunity to really get the diverse communities mobilised and actually work into a single idea.
“I think the Leeds story will come out of that. We are a very cosmopolitan city. I arrived in 1967, in Beeston. I’ve seen that progression from when there was three Asian kids in a school. It’s become more nuanced.”
“It’s a get-go city.”
Leeds Indie Food, North Brew Co and local restaurants also turned out for the occasion.
The West Yorkshire Playhouse also held activities for children during the event.
Executive director Robin Hawkes said: “It’s great doing something like this in half term so we can draw lots of families down and tell them about all the cultural activity going on.
“Quarry Hill is changing fast at the moment and it feels like today’s a first step in the Quarry Hill of the future.
“I think getting Capital of Culture would be a huge thing for Leeds in terms of an opportunity to shout to the whole world about the brilliant things Leeds has to offer.
“There’s a huge amount going on here already in terms of culture and creativity.”