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Notting Hill Carnival draws tens of thousands in London
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Notting Hill Carnival, the largest street party in Europe, unveiled itself on Sunday with tens of thousands of people beating the poor weather to celebrate with colors and music in west London.

With this year's theme "Welcoming the World," the annual carnival sets out to impress the world that London is a prime place for world class events.

British youth gesture near the Mall in front of the Buckingham Palace to join in the "VISA London 2012 Party", in London, the next host city for summer Olympic Games, Aug. 24, 2008.[Xinhua]

More than 1.5 million people are expected to attend the carnival both on Sunday and Monday, in what promises to be the best and biggest spectacle of color, energy and music.

Dozens of masquerade bands are to display their elaborate and colorful costumes around the 3.5-mile route.

In addition to the procession of costumes and steel bands, 38 static sound systems, each playing their own selection of reggae, jazz, soul, hip-hop, house and garage will entertain the crowds.

There are also hundreds of street stalls selling exotic foods, encouraging visitors to sample the diversity of London's ethnic cuisine, including spicy Caribbean, Nigerian, Thai and Chinese flavors.

With the carnival coinciding with the Olympic ceremonial handover from Beijing to London, Mayor Boris Johnson said earlier that "Notting Hill Carnival is truly welcoming the world on behalf of the capital."

A giant 25-square-metre screen has been installed this year at Pleasance Park along the carnival route, for revelers to celebrate the handover of the Olympic flag from Beijing to London. It will also show live footage from across the whole carnival site.

The carnival was started in 1964 by immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago who resided in the Notting Hill Gate area. Over the years, it has evolved into a multi-cultural festival and is regarded as the biggest carnival outside Rio de Janeiro.

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