PREPARATIONS are under way for Leicester’s world-renowned Diwali festivities, which are set to light up the city’s Golden Mile.
Around 40,000 people are expected to attend each of the two main events – the Diwali Lights switch on, which takes place on Sunday October 28, and the Diwali Day festivities on Wednesday November 7.
There will also be the opportunity to join in a programme of smaller cultural activities, ranging from art workshops and storytelling to family-themed events, which will take place across the city.
The festivities will begin with the switch-on of 6,000 sparkling lights, which will illuminate Belgrave’s Golden Mile.
Running from 3pm to 9pm, the event features a programme of Asian music and dance on the main stage in Belgrave Road, a Diwali Village at nearby Cossington Street Recreation Ground, and a fireworks finale at 7.30pm.
This year’s main stage programme will feature a new dance piece presented by Curve Theatre; dancers from across the city will participate in a performance set on the streets of Mumbai. The show features choreography by Leicester’s renowned Aakash Odedra and Curve dance associate Melanie Knott.
Indian fashion, art and crafts will be on offer alongside children’s activities and a funfair at the Diwali Village, which is open from 3pm to 9pm, giving visitors the chance to explore the area before and after the main programme of events.
This year’s events will also include a stunning touring exhibition called Museum of the Moon, in which a detailed replica of the Earth’s satellite will be suspended above the heads of visitors to Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre from October 28 to November 7.
The venue will also host the ever-popular Rangoli exhibition of traditional Indian geometric art. The free drop-in event will run from October 28 to November 7.
Once again throughout the Diwali period, visitors will be able to gaze down on the illuminated Golden Mile from the 110-foot Wheel of Light ferris wheel which takes pride of place in the heart of Belgrave. It will be in action from October 26 to November 11.
The festivities will continue on Diwali Day, which takes place on November 7, from 3pm to 9pm.
The Golden Mile and surrounding area will once again come alive with a programme of live entertainment and the bustling Diwali Village at Cossington Street Recreation Ground, and a dazzling overhead firework display.
Leicester deputy city mayor responsible for culture and leisure, Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “Leicester’s Diwali celebrations are famous worldwide, with tens of thousands of people coming to take part in the wonderful festivities on offer.
“This year’s events once again offer a combination of the best in traditional Indian music, dance and performance, along with activities for all ages at the Diwali Village and breathtaking firework displays at both the lights’ switch on event, and Diwali Day itself.
“These spectacular celebrations bring out the very best of what Leicester has to offer, and I’m very much looking forward to them once again.”
Diwali brochures highlighting all the main events are available now from Leicester’s libraries, museums and from the Visit Leicester information office in Gallowtree Gate.
A full programme of events is available online at visitleicester.info