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It's that time of year again when we all get a long weekend, and Notting Hill Carnival comes to life again to offer the perfect way to spend it!

Thousands are expected to arrive in west London to absorb the atmosphere of the annual carnival.

The usual selection of Caribbean street food, music and dancing will have Notting Hill buzzing on Sunday and again on Bank Holiday Monday.

And remember to keep and eye out for the parade which is one of the big highlights of the weekend.

Notting Hill Carnival: Highlights of the two-day festival you must go and see

The carnival, although apparently disliked by some residents , is one of the biggest dates on the west London calendar.

So, if you're going - or even if you're not - sit back and enjoy the atmosphere, with the help of our live blog, bringing you the must-see highlights, transport information and reaction from carnival-goers.

Email pete.bryant@trinitymirror.com with your pictures, videos or comments, or tweet us at @getwestlondon.

Highlights of day one in pictures

That’s it for our live blog of the first day of this year’s Notting Hill Carnival. Although the weather wasn’t pretty at times, it only served to make the sights and sounds all the more exhilarating by contrast! That’s the way I’m looking at it anyway.

We have put together this picture gallery of highlights of day one to look back on if you were here, or to get you in the mood for tomorrow if you weren’t.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Young performers take part in the Notting Hill Carnival on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival, which has taken place annually since 1964, is expected to attract over a million people. The two-day event, started by members of the Afro-Caribbean community, sees costumed performers take to the streets in a parade and dozens of sound systems set up around the Notting Hill streets. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Young performers take part in the Notting Hill Carnival on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival, which has taken place annually since 1964, is expected to attract over a million people. The two-day event, started by members of the Afro-Caribbean community, sees costumed performers take to the streets in a parade and dozens of sound systems set up around the Notting Hill streets. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

It really is a great way to spend a bank holiday Monday, so we’ll see you back here in the morning for another day of fun and games.

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the carnival, which is set to run for some time yet. Here’s one more reminder of things you can check out.

See ya!

The music continues

A reminder that the carnival continues into the evening later, with Rampage - the largest static sound system at the carnival - expected to attract 15,000 people to dance the night away.
The Rampage stage, located just off All Saints Road, will have performances on both Sunday and Monday nights.

Rampage team will be running a music stage at Notting Hill Carnival 2016
Rampage team will be running a music stage at Notting Hill Carnival 2016

Why your face is being scanned

There’s been a lot of talk about this today, but here we explain why police may be scanning your face as you make your way round Notting Hill today in a new technique to catch wanted criminals.

Pictures of today's parade

Here are a few photos of some of today’s highlights, including a dazzling parade that would not be defeated by today’s grey weather.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: A performer takes part in the Notting Hill Carnival on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival has taken place every year since 1966 in Notting Hill in north-west London and is one of the largest street festivals in Europe with more than a million people expected over two days. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: A performer takes part in the Notting Hill Carnival on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival has taken place every year since 1966 in Notting Hill in north-west London and is one of the largest street festivals in Europe with more than a million people expected over two days. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: A young girl joins in the celebrations during the first day of the Notting Hill Carnival on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival has taken place every year since 1966 in Notting Hill in north-west London and is one of the largest street festivals in Europe with more than a million people expected over two days. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: A young girl joins in the celebrations during the first day of the Notting Hill Carnival on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival has taken place every year since 1966 in Notting Hill in north-west London and is one of the largest street festivals in Europe with more than a million people expected over two days. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Performers take part in the Notting Hill Carnival on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival, which has taken place annually since 1964, is expected to attract over a million people. The two-day event, started by members of the Afro-Caribbean community, sees costumed performers take to the streets in a parade and dozens of sound systems set up around the Notting Hill streets. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Performers take part in the Notting Hill Carnival on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival, which has taken place annually since 1964, is expected to attract over a million people. The two-day event, started by members of the Afro-Caribbean community, sees costumed performers take to the streets in a parade and dozens of sound systems set up around the Notting Hill streets. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Would you rather...

Revisiting the theme of divided opinions on the carnival, we’ve pulled together some of the funniest things you’ve been saying you’d rather do on Twitter than go to Notting Hill today.

Be warned, we’ve removed the bad language, but number nine is a bit tasty.

Getty image with tweets about what people would rather do than go to Notting Hill Carnival
Getty image with tweets about what people would rather do than go to Notting Hill Carnival

Look back at first EVER carnival

Now would be a good time to look back at the origins of the carnival, as our reporter was lucky enough to learn about when he spoke to the husband of the woman who started the tradition way back in the 1960s when the first ever carnival was attended by just 40 people!

Caribbean communities at Notting Hill Carnival in 1964
Caribbean communities at Notting Hill Carnival in 1964

Haters gon' hate

Having never lived somewhere where a massive festival is right outside my home - my closest experience is the Pershore Plum Festival (also on this weekend!) - I’m finding it fascinating how much Notting Hill Carnival divides opinion.

Tweet enthusiastically supporting Notting Hill Carnival
Tweet enthusiastically supporting Notting Hill Carnival

A reminder that we visited a few weeks ago to ask people whether they’d like to see the carnival moved to a different area. There were some interesting answers then too.

Book vs Carnival

What are you playing at, Charles?! There are all these highlights to choose from at the carnival today!

Huge crowds defying damp conditions

Neha reports that the market in Portobello Road still has a massive number of people enjoying the carnival fun, despite the disappointing weather.

Notting Hill Carnival 2016. Crowds at Portobello Road market
Notting Hill Carnival 2016. Crowds at Portobello Road market

Let us know how you’re keeping dry by tweeting @getwestlondon.

Get a bird's eye view of parade

This is a view of the Notting Hill parade that most don’t get to see.

One lucky resident took this footage of the performers going past her sitting room window, meaning she can has the best seat in the house to enjoy the parade from, all in the comfort of her own home.

It's raining again

Oh dear, well that brief spell of sunshine was rather short lived.

The weather has become a bit wet again. Sorry Neha!

More rain at Notting Hill Carnival 2016
More rain at Notting Hill Carnival 2016

Supermarkets get into the spirit

If spicy chicken isn’t your thing, you can still pop into a shop for a meal deal or something at the carnival. Tesco has decided to decorate six of its stores along the carnival route specially for this weekend, with balloons, bunting and T-shorts for staff.

One business not getting into the spirit, however, is Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which seems to have closed its Notting Hill restaurant for the day.

Watch amazing African drumming

Neha has been enjoying this African drumming performance from a local group. They even got this youngster involved in the show - and he’s got some moves!

The group, African Drumming School - regulars at the carnival - offer lessons at Finsbury Park Arts Club every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday if you’re feeling inspired.

Carnival has you covered this lunchtime

All that dancing got you feeling peckish? There’s loads of food to try at the carnival today, with stalls selling famous Jamaican jerk chicken probably one of the most common, but delicious, sights.

As you can see, there is also corn on the cob on offer being cooked in steel drums, and plenty more to do.

Notting Hill Carnival 2016. Street food
Notting Hill Carnival 2016. Street food
Notting Hill Carnival 2016. Street food
Notting Hill Carnival 2016. Street food

Parade 'kicks things off'

Look at that picture from Andrew McCorkell! Actual blue sky!

Weather improving

It’s as if all that music and dancing has lifted the spirits of the weather too as the sky begins to brighten overhead!

Is that a hint of blue I see in the sky in this picture from Neha Gohil? Who knows, we might even see some sunshine this afternoon!

Sky begins to brighten over parade at Notting Hill Carnival 2016
Sky begins to brighten over parade at Notting Hill Carnival 2016

Parade begins!

It has started folks! Here’s a video showing the performers aren’t letting a bit of drizzle put them off.

Parade route map

A quick reminder of the route the parade is due to follow today.

Route Map: Notting Hill Carnival 2016
Route Map: Notting Hill Carnival 2016 (Image: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea)

Large police presence

We reported earlier this month that the Met Police were planning to have an increased presence at this year’s carnival to keep visitors safe, after a surge in gang violence last year.

Our reporter Neha says there is a large number of police officers along the parade route this morning.

Parade delayed by rain

This wet weather is really not what the doctor ordered.

Reporter Neha Gohil is among those lining the streets ready for the parade, but says it appears this has been delayed from its original start time of around 10am due to the rain.

Visitors line the parade route waiting for it to start at a wet Notting Hill Carnival 2016
Visitors line the parade route waiting for it to start at a wet Notting Hill Carnival 2016

Messy

We’ve got pictures from this morning’s mini party at dawn, which were colourful to say the least. Just after sunrise, carnival-goers threw paint, oil and chocolate at each other in the ‘j’ouvert’ celebration.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: A reveller starts the day's celebrations as Notting Hill Carnival begins on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival has taken place every year since 1966 in Notting Hill in north-west London and is one of the largest street festivals in Europe with more than a million people expected over two days. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: A reveller starts the day's celebrations as Notting Hill Carnival begins on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival has taken place every year since 1966 in Notting Hill in north-west London and is one of the largest street festivals in Europe with more than a million people expected over two days. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Revellers start the day's celebrations as Notting Hill Carnival begins on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival has taken place every year since 1966 in Notting Hill in north-west London and is one of the largest street festivals in Europe with more than a million people expected over two days. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Revellers start the day's celebrations as Notting Hill Carnival begins on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival has taken place every year since 1966 in Notting Hill in north-west London and is one of the largest street festivals in Europe with more than a million people expected over two days. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)

We’ll be bringing you images from the parade shortly.

Safety first

There has been a lot of talk about safety ahead of this years carnival, as security remains generally heightened following recent appalling terror attacks around the world, and the Met Police continue efforts to tackle London’s knife crime problem.

Raids carried out by police ahead of the carnival led to knives, guns and drugs being seized.

One of the bladed instruments found by police as part of Operation Vitality - the intelligence-led operation designed to keep the carnival safe
One of the bladed instruments found by police as part of Operation Vitality - the intelligence-led operation designed to keep the carnival safe

While the carnival is overwhelmingly a positive experience, we have put together this guide to staying safe this weekend.

A Marmite carnival

Speaking of divided opinions, we head out to Notting Hill earlier this month to ask people what they really thought of the carnival, following a report that 90% of residents hated it and fled the area every year when it came to town.

One local told getwestlondon why he thought the carnival should be packed up and shipped off to Hyde Park.

Contrasting opinions

Evidence here that Notting Hill Carnival continues to divide opinion:

Why wait til next year, Holly?! It’s early yet, and there’s always tomorrow...

An early start

Bank holiday weekends aren’t known for getting people out of bed early, but organisers at Notting Hill have been active since the crack of dawn getting things ready for revellers.

Neha has spoken to the events team who said staff arrived at 7am to ensure visitors are staying on the side of the street and not walking in the roads.

Sunday is known as the slightly quieter, family oriented day of the carnival, but there’s still crowd management to be done.

Umbrellas out!

Would you believe it! After a week of sun and stifling temperatures, the rain is back on carnival day!

Our reporter Neha Gohil is out at the carnival, where crowds are gathering despite the wet weather. It is still nice and warm though at least.

Remember to take a brolly...

Rain at Notting Hill Carnival 2016
Rain at Notting Hill Carnival 2016

How to get here

A crucial part of attending any big event is actually getting to it. Thankfully, we thought of that in advance and put together this handy guide to travelling to Notting Hill on the busy carnival weekend.

There’s also information here on the parade, which has already begun and will entertain visitors allllllll day!

Excitement building

Here are the early thoughts of some of the thousands heading to the carnival today, for day one of the two-day party.

To have your tweets and pictures featured, please tweet @getwestlondon or email pete.bryant@trinitymirror.com.

Today's highlights

Now, if you’re at the carnival today you’re unlikely to be short of things to see and do.

But if you are struggling - perhaps feeling blinded by choice - then here’s our pick of highlights from the day. Why not head over to one or two of these?

It's carnival time!

Good morning west Londoners! And welcome to guests from all over the country who are in town for Notting Hill Carnival!

It’s one of the biggest dates of the year and we’ll be keeping you abreast of the day’s activities and bringing you the colour of the carnival, along with advice on travel and highlights of the day, whether you’re here or not.

Let’s begin...

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Revellers start the day's celebrations as Notting Hill Carnival begins on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival has taken place every year since 1966 in Notting Hill in north-west London and is one of the largest street festivals in Europe with more than a million people expected over two days. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Revellers start the day's celebrations as Notting Hill Carnival begins on August 28, 2016 in London, England. The Notting Hill Carnival has taken place every year since 1966 in Notting Hill in north-west London and is one of the largest street festivals in Europe with more than a million people expected over two days. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)