Page last updated at 10:41 GMT, Sunday, 17 August 2008 11:41 UK

Carnival costumes go on display

Notting Hill Carnival children's costume
Competitors aim to become a carnival "king" or "queen"

Flamboyant costumes for this year's Notting Hill Carnival are being put on show at Alexandra Palace, north London.

A week before the street party begins, participants are displaying their outfits to both the public and judges, who will award prizes at the event.

A carnival spokesman said the Grand Costume Splash was a chance to see the costumes "up close and in a comfortable environment without the crowds".

About 1.5 million people are expected at the annual west London street party.

Hidden wheels

The Grand Costume Splash offers a preview of adults' carnival outfits on Sunday from 1300 BST. Children's costumes went on show on Saturday.

Some of the giant costumes run on hidden wheels, which even trained dancers need tremendous leg power to move around in gracefully.

During the carnival, its costume "king" and "queen" will be crowned across four age categories.

Angela Duncan-Thompson, chair of the Notting Hill Masquerade Bands Association, said: "For us carnival never stops, but as it gets to this time of year we can finish off everything we have worked so hard to achieve.

"Today (Sunday) will be the showcase of all our major pieces, so that is a highlight for us as far as we are concerned."

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