Kingston Carnival: ‘We’re not trying to be Notting Hill’


Thousands are expected to attend this weekend’s events.


By Francine Beleyi

As millions of visitors hit Notting Hill Carnival this weekend, Kingston is preparing to take over from its big sister with its own family-friendly booze-free festival.

Kingston Carnival is the perfect alternative for those who are looking for a more intimate yet fun way to party with family and friends.

This festival, which has been running for 14 years, is a favourite of locals and surrounding boroughs. In recent years it has grown in popularity and seen people coming from all over the world.

Last year 60,000 people attended the event and the organisers are expecting 100,000 visitors this year.

Preeti Shetty, Kingston’s Carnival Coordinator, said: “We are much smaller than Notting Hill and that’s the way we like it! We are not trying to be Notting Hill. This is a family friendly community festival that aims to include all people in the local area and gives Kingston a chance to show the rest of the country what it’s got to offer.

“It is foremost about Kingston and its inhabitants and provides a day for people to come and enjoy themselves in a safe, secure, fun and inclusive environment.”

Kingston is a diverse community and most of the performers come from local groups that represent various diaspora around the UK.

Crystal Law, 22, digital administrator and volunteer at the carnival said: Helping out at the carnival has made me feel involved with the community, as if we were are one big family. I have learnt a lot from stalls, which represent different cultures. The atmosphere, the food and the entertainment are amazing.”

The carnival is aimed at families and young children and everyone is encouraged to come along.

Kingston Carnival is also alcohol-free which might be one of the reasons we never have any problems on the day!” said the carnival coordinator.  

We even have three kids’ areas with activities for them.”

This year’s procession will start at noon from the Guildhall onto the High Street, through Eden Street along Clarence Street into Market Place and finishing at the Guildhall.

Everyone is invited to join the procession, dance along to the music, try the international foods and have fun on Sunday September 1 from noon to 7pm.

For further information, visit or call 020 8547 2332.

Photo courtesy of Kali187, with thanks.

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