A cavalcade of costumed revellers will be hitting the streets this Sunday (11 September) for the return of Hackney One Carnival.
Booming sound systems, steel drums and dancers in sparkly outfits will be out in force for the council-run event.
Although not on the same scale as its Notting Hill equivalent, Hackney One Carnival stems from a long line of carnivals in Hackney – dating back to the early 1970s.
Helen Yearwood, of the Pantonic Steel Orchestra, a local steel band founded in 1988, hails the carnival’s “great spirit”.
Speaking to the Hackney Citizen, she said: “It’s a very important event that the brings the community together. It’s scaled down a lot, but there’s still such a great spirit – I think it should be more than once a year!
“Not everyone can get to Notting Hill, so smaller community events like this make carnival more accessible and bring everything in the area alive.”
The main procession of floats and dancers is to set off from Ridley Road at 2pm, before winding its way through the borough.
Gillett Square is to host a live music stage and play area for children, and there is also set to be street theatre at the Town Hall.
Stalls selling food and arts and crafts will also be scattered throughout the area.
The council is asking residents and businesses along Ridley Road to vibrantly decorate their premises to add to the carnival atmosphere – there will apparently be a prize for the best decor.
The first carnival in Hackney is believed to have taken place in 1973, though it has had various names over the year (including the ‘Mare de Gras’).
Hackney One Carnival in its current incarnation was set up back in 2008 by 15 different carnival groups.
And when the party ends, the Three Compasses pub on Dalston Lane has organised an after-party, featuring reggae, face painting and rum punch.
Cllr Jonathan McShane said: “The Hackney One Carnival is one of East London’s stand-out events, jam-packed with a fantastic variety of costumes that will brighten up the borough and music to everyone dancing.
“I want to see as many people lining the route to make this year’s carnival the best ever celebrating all that is great about Hackney. Get the date in your diary and join in the fun.”