The 40th anniversary of one of Europe's largest street festivals is being celebrated in central London.
Presentations on the carnival's benefits will also be given
Masqueraders accompanied by a steel band producing the traditional sound of the Notting Hill Carnival gathered in Trafalgar Square from 1300 BST.
The display will be followed by a parliamentary reception.
The west London carnival has attracted crowds of more than a million people during the three days of the bank holiday weekend in August.
The London Development Agency (LDA) and the Arts Council, who are sponsoring the event, will give presentations on the history and impact of the carnival.
David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, who is hosting the event with Regent's Park and Kensington North MP Karen Buck, said he had been a regular at the carnival since he was a child.
"It is more than just a celebration of the West Indian contribution to British society, it has become an iconic celebration of multi-ethnicity at its best in Europe," he said.
"I am proud that Carnival represents the diversity of Britain and its people."
Organisers hope the event will highlight the benefits the carnival brings to London.