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Notting Hill Carnival kicks off in style as partygoers flock to west London

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Huge crowds of revellers took to the streets of west London on Sunday to mark the return of the Notting Hill Carnival.

Bright smiles, detailed costumes and plenty of dancing was seen as the Children’s Day Parade wound its way through W10, the traditional first day of the two-day festival.

The carnival, Europe’s biggest street party, helps celebrate Caribbean culture and history.

Party-goers opened up the day’s proceedings with J’Ouvert - which means ‘opening of the day’ - by descending on Notting Hill at 6am to dance and party with powdered paints.

Huge crowds descended on west London for the start of Carnival (PA)
Huge crowds descended on west London for the start of Carnival (PA)

Hundreds of youngsters then donned their colourful costumes as the traditional children’s day parade wound through a three-mile route around the streets of west London.

The family-friendly day, which marks the opening of the carnival, is designed to encourage the next generation, who were cheered on by revellers.

Organisers, who billed the carnival as "the greatest community-led event on the planet," said of the children’s parade: “It’s an undeniable joy to see the next generation carrying the carnival baton - dancing in the streets wearing their carefully crafted costumes."

 (PA)
(PA)

The 72 people who died in the Grenfell Tower fire, in a nearby block of flats in North Kensington in June 2017, were also honoured in a 72-second silence which began at 3pm.

It is expected that more than two million people are set to take to the streets of west London this bank holiday weekend. Monday marks the main day of the carnival, with the adult’s parade beginning at midday.

The street party this year marks two landmark anniversaries - the docking of the Empire Windrush 75 years ago heralded mass immigration from the Caribbean, and the introduction of sound systems and Mas bands 50 years ago which transformed it into a large-scale event.

Among those welcoming the parade’s return was Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who hailed it as “part of the very fabric of our city”.

“The community-led celebration of Caribbean history and culture embodies everything that makes London the greatest city in the world and, as we continue to work to build a fairer, more prosperous city for all, I’m delighted that it’s back, bigger and better than ever,” he said.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Mr Khan also praised those who have contributed towards, or will be part of, the carnival, from the event organisers to emergency service personnel.

“This fantastic celebration would simply not be possible without the hard work of the event organisers and I want to thank them along with our brilliant emergency service personnel, from the police, to the London Ambulance and the London Fire Brigade, who will be working hard over the entire weekend to keep us all safe and to ensure Carnival can be enjoyed by all Londoners and visitors," he said.

Police said on Sunday evening that the first day of the carnival had been “good natured” throughout, but that officers had made 24 arrests in the carnival area, including some for suspected possession of offensive weapons.

Officers said enhanced stop and search powers would be in place throughout the evening until 2am Monday to “keep all Carnival-goers safe”.

“This is a precautionary step which does not change our policing approach,” said the force. “Officers will continue to use their powers respectfully and sensitively as they have been doing throughout the event so far.”