Notting Hill Carnival revellers enjoy first Adults Day parade since Covid pandemic

The spirit of a multicultural UK returned to the streets of west London on Monday

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The Notting Hill Carnival turned west London into a party on bank holiday Monday as the Adults Day parade returned for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Young and old took to the streets with many attendees dressed in colourful, sparkling costumes to match the dancers.

Pam Small, 54, has been travelling to the UK from the US for the carnival for nine years and is elated to be back after Covid-19.

She was carnival-ready, dressed in yellow feathers and an intricate sparkly costume.

“I love everything about it. The people, the culture, the diversity – it’s really special to be here,” she said.

Clayde Tavernier, 23, was wearing a blue-feathered crown and bystanders stopped to dance and take photos with him.

“Carnival is the time to be myself, to express who I am. I came all the way from Dominica to be here and to have fun,” said the dancer, who attends every year.

Iona Edesiri Thomson and Neve Kearneg, both 18, from London, were following the parade up Ladbroke Grove while wearing make-up featuring Caribbean green and yellow to represent the Jamaican flag.

“We’ve been since we were little kids and this is the first time since Covid. The people are so fun and I love the food. People cooking their culture’s food is really amazing,” said Ms Thomson.

“Usually Britain is very white but going to the carnival shows we are a multicultural nation and it’s also great for tourism, which helps our economy,” added Ms Kearneg.

Notting Hill Carnival returns - in pictures

Walking in the parade was Rolando Ponde, 34, who was wearing white platform heels and covered in white, purple and pink feathers and matching diamantes.

“Carnival is special because it introduces people to their roots, to their culture. We have our community here in the UK and at carnival we can all come together,” he said.

Sharon Decairos, 54, and sister Samantha Decairos, 53, were sitting on camping chairs next to people celebrating on the road wearing Caribbean accessories.

“With Covid we were all stuck inside. This is what we were missing,” said Sharon Decairos.

“We can finally experience our culture again,” he said.

They have been going to the carnival since the 1970s and said the diversity and cultural celebration is what makes it special.

Mark Brown, 22, was wearing a Jamaican flag around his neck while queuing for jerk chicken.

“At carnival there’s just good vibes. I’ve been before, and now after Covid it’s as if I’ve never left,” he said.

The Metropolitan Police said that by 7am on Monday there had been 76 arrests for “a variety of different offences”.

Officers said a police horse died on duty during the carnival after collapsing at about 9pm on Sunday.

The force said it is too early to determine the cause of death, adding there will be an investigation.

Updated: August 30, 2022, 5:26 AM
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