Culture

Smiles and sparkles as Notting Hill carnival’s Adults Day parade returns

Notting Hill carnival continued on Monday with the first Adults Day parade since the start of the pandemic.

Attenders of the Caribbean celebration dressed in colourful, sparkling costumes to match the dancers.

Pam Small, 54, had come from the US for the carnival and was dressed in yellow feathers and an intricate sparkly costume. She has been travelling to the UK for the carnival nine times and was elated to be back after Covid.

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

Clayde Tavernier, 23, was wearing a blue feathered crown, and bystanders stopped to dance and take photos with him. The Dominican dancer, who attends every year, said: “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.”

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

Part of the huge Notting Hill carnival crowd as seen from Ladbroke Grove in west London
Part of the huge Notting Hill carnival crowd as seen from Ladbroke Grove in west London. Photograph: Ryan Prince/The Guardian

Thomson said: “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.”

Kearneg added: “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.”

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

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

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

Her sister added: “We can finally experience our culture again.”

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

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 was too early to determine the cause of death, adding there would be an investigation.

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