Leicester Diwali lights switch-on draws 'record' crowds

A girl sits on her father's shoulders after the switching on of Diwali lights in Leicester Image copyright Reuters

About 37,000 people attended Leicester's annual Diwali lights switch-on, making it a record turnout, organisers have said.

The event usually attracts about 35,000 people to the city's Golden Mile on Belgrave Road.

Image copyright AP

Leicester City Council estimated it was a record crowd on Sunday, in the heart of the city's south Asian area.

The Diwali events in Leicester are believed to be among the biggest celebrations outside India.

Image copyright Reuters
Image copyright Reuters

Fireworks and a "fire garden" of decorative flames were staged in Cossington Park.

Image copyright Reuters
Image copyright Reuters

For the first time a 100ft (30m) Ferris wheel was set up on Belgrave Road.

Image copyright PA

Leicestershire Chief Constable Simon Cole, who was at the event, said: "I can't believe the crowd is absolutely enormous... There are, I think, the most people I've ever seen here.

Image copyright Reuters

"The big wheel looks spectacular and the shows have stepped up a notch.

"This is fantastic - even the police officers here are having a good time, that's how good it is."

For the first time, the Diwali event will take place over a fortnight after the celebrations were described as "stale bread" earlier this year.

There will be new activities in the city centre, in libraries and museums and at the football stadium.

The council said this year's Diwali would be "bigger and brighter than ever".

Image copyright Reuters
Image copyright Reuters

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