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Last Updated: Monday, 28 August 2006, 18:54 GMT 19:54 UK
Londoners unite for carnival celebrations
By Clark Ainsworth
BBC London News

Carnival dancer
More than 500,000 people descending onto the streets of Notting Hill
The theme at this year's Notting Hill Carnival was unity and more than half a million people descended onto the streets of west London to revel in each others' diversity.

Bank Holiday Monday in Notting Hill is traditionally the busier of the two days and the streets were filled with crowds dancing to the sound systems and watching the scores of Mas Bands, steel bands and floats making their way around the parade route in west London.

In contrast to 30 years ago, when the 1976 carnival was marred by rioting, race relations appeared to be quite different.

People of different races mixed with each other enjoying the festivities and police said the event had been relatively trouble free.

Officers mixed freely with revellers, pointing disoriented members of the public in the right direction while dancing to the infectious Caribbean rhythms.

Sweet soca sounds

Scores of stalls selling everything from homemade jerk chicken and curried goat to West Indian flags and Jamaican beer were busy serving the needs of the hungry and thirsty crowds.

Young and old tucked in to the Caribbean fare, danced to the sweet soca sounds emanating from the sound systems and enjoyed the colourful costumes.

Pauline Webb, 79, of Wembley, said: "I have come here every year for the last 29 years. I like the celebrations and the fact that we're all here to celebrate everyone's cultures.

"I came yesterday and thought it was a bit quiet but it seems busier today. My favourite bit so far has been the Samba band who were fantastic."

Dean Fierheller, 41, of Braintree, Essex, was visiting the carnival for the first time.

He said: "It's great, the atmosphere is great. The costumes look I've not had any food yet. We've got a great spot so I'm going to stay here and watch everything. I don't know how long it's going to go on for or how long we'll end up staying."


SEE ALSO
In pictures: Notting Hill Carnival
28 Aug 06 |  In Pictures
In pictures: Carnival Children's Day
27 Aug 06 |  In Pictures

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