Leicester: Thousands turn out for 40th Diwali lights switch-on event

Thousands of people came together to celebrate Diwali in Leicester as the city's lights switch-on event marked its 40th anniversary.

The Golden Mile was lit up by 6,000 sparkling lamps on Sunday, when the annual ceremony was hosted.

It was first held in 1983 when the lights - stretching from Dorset Street to Loughborough Road - were switched on by the community's oldest resident.

Leicester City Council said about 40,000 people attended this year.

The event featured a Diwali village on Cossington Street recreation ground, as well entertainment on stage in Belgrave Road.

Leicester's Diwali celebrations are some of the biggest outside of India.

Deputy city mayor for culture, councillor Adam Clarke, said: "It's hard to believe that we've been holding our Diwali light switch-on event in Leicester for 40 years.

"[The event is] always a wonderful occasion that brings people together from all over the city and much further afield, and last night's celebration was one of the best."

The celebrations began at 15:00 GMT with the opening of the Diwali village, in which families enjoyed funfair rides and food stalls.

The switch-on of the 6,000 colourful lights took place at 19:00 and was followed by a firework display.

Diwali Day will be celebrated in Belgrave Road on 12 November, and local arts group Inspirate have been making plans for the event.

The council said there would be two stages for live music, a lantern procession and walkabout theatre production consisting of two giant puppets, musicians and dancers.

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