London’s New Year Parade returned with a bang today, with half a million people expected to join more than 8,000 performers.
The capital celebrated the arrival of 2023 with a colorful event that Toploader, one of the performing bands, described as “the perfect cure for a hangover”.
It was the first time since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic in 2020 that the gathering could take place in full.
There was a merry mood as marching bands, cheerleaders, pearl kings and queens, dancers, drummers, cycling clubs and giant balloons lined the streets on Sunday.
The three and a half hour parade started in Piccadilly and moved to Parliament Square.
About 20 nations are represented among the acts – including China, Peru, Colombia, Brazil and others from the USA, Great Britain and Europe.
A band from El Salvador, who traveled from the rainforest, also caught the attention of the crowd today.
Only 600 ticket holders were allowed to take part in a cut back parade in 2022 as Covid concerns plagued the UK.
The parade has “raised billions for London and the UK as a whole” over the years, along with £2million for London charities, organizers say.
Founder Bob Bone has helped make it an annual tradition since the inaugural event in 1987.
Mr Bone said: “This year the parade is again at its most brilliant.
“We are happy to see that so many artists have come from all over the world.
“This is the parade’s first mass gathering since Covid. This is the first time we have a parade since 2020.
“It is amazing. This is what we do. It’s what we love and it gives London this incredible opportunity to step out to the world, wave to the world and say ‘come on over’.’
Mr. Bone summed up the “hugely cosmopolitan carnival,” adding, “It’s culture, color and great fun.”
It comes after London welcomed in the New Year with a stunning midnight fireworks display.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said there was “no better place to ring in the New Year than London”.
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/01/01/londons-new-years-day-parade-thousands-turn-out-to-watch-event-18023648/ London New Year's Parade: Thousands watch the event