Carnival revellers bring Caribbean to London streets

Exotic dancers, vibrant music and the smell of Caribbean food livened up London yesterday as Europe’s biggest street festival hit the capital.

Thousands of people cheered Notting Hill Carnival’s colourful procession through the sunny streets to the beat of steel drums and sound systems.

Lines of traditional floats and brightly costumed dancers paraded along the three-and-a-half mile route during the event which marks the carnival’s 48th year.

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The party atmosphere saw face-painted children and families dancing on the sidelines and 
even police officers showed off their moves in front of the crowds.

Yesterday was the carnival’s family day and children and young people travelled on many of the floats from schools, community groups and sports clubs which were decorated with flags, flowers, feathers and jewels.

The celebrations continue an unforgettable summer for London, coming between the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Nicole Smith, 37, an administrator from Aveley in Essex, joined in the celebrations for the first time with her husband Nicolas, a mechanic, and their two daughters Lois, eight, and Martine, 12.

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Mrs Smith said: “We’ve never been before and with so much happening in London at the moment we thought this would be a great year to come with the family.

“It’s fantastic. There’s such a friendly atmosphere and the girls are really enjoying the music and the dancing – we can’t wait to enjoy the food next.”

Martine added: “I can’t believe the effort that goes into the costumes, I’ve never seen anything like this before.

“There was one float with a huge puppet – it was amazing. It’s makes us want to dance.”

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Alaiddin Nabulsi, 60, a stockbroker who lives along the carnival route in Talbot Road, said: “I’ve been watching the carnival for 30 years and it’s still exciting every year.

“I love family day because it’s so enjoyable watching the children in the procession with big smiles on their faces dancing. It’s a great day.

“The weather is lovely and everyone is a having a good time.”