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What You Should Know About London’s Notting Hill Carnival

By Stephanie Ogbogu

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Carnival season continues, this time celebrating the Caribbean heritage in London. On August 25-26, London will be hosting their annual Notting Hill Carnival.

Carnival in London has been taking place since 1959, initially held at St. Pancras Town Hall as a way to settle down the race relations between indigenous British residents and Caribbean natives. In 1966, the first Notting Hill Carnival took to the streets of Notting Hill, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Annually the Caribbean festival brings in nearly a million attendees clad in technicolor costumes, parading the streets while dancing to traditional reggae, meringue, calypso, rumba, and zouk music. You’ll also find vendors selling Caribbean street foods like seasoned jerk chicken, callaloo, and traditional goat stew.

Although The Notting Hill Carnival doesn’t officially start until Sunday, August 25, you can participate in festivities a bit early. The annual Panoramastreet party kicks off on Saturday evening from 6 pm – 11 pm. The free community event will feature a competitive performance by national steel bands and will take place in Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park.

J’Ouvert, the traditional Carnival kick-off, begins on Sunday, August 25 at 6 am. Attendees of all ages are invited to the parade. There will also be a children’s band participating in the festivities. All day and into the night Sunday you can catch live music on stages in Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park and Powis Square and sample incredible foods from vendors while listening to all kinds of Caribbean inspired music from 38 static sound systems.

The grand finale takes place on Monday, August 26. You can check out the parade, performances, and all along the route, you can enjoy scrumptious treats, foods, drinks, and plenty of entertainment.


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Stephanie Ogbogu

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