PREPARATIONS are now well under way for Leicester’s annual Diwali Day celebrations on Monday (24 October).
Belgrave Road will once again be the focus for the Diwali Day event, with the Diwali Village and its children’s fairground rides and food stalls returning to Cossington Street recreation ground from 3pm.
There’ll be live music and dancing on the stage in the park from 6pm, with a programme put together by the Leicester Hindu Festival Council, while the Wheel of Light – a giant illuminated ferris wheel – will offer a bird’s eye view of the colourful lights and the celebrations below.
A special attraction for Diwali Day this year is ‘Dundu’ – a giant illuminated puppet who will mingle with the crowds.
Fireworks will round off the Diwali Day celebrations at around 8.10pm, with an aerial display producing layers of spectacular colour and sound, exploding hundreds of feet above the Belgrave Road.
Leicester’s deputy city mayor for culture, leisure and sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “Diwali is an opportunity for people to come together to celebrate the festival of light and to enjoy time with family and friends – and everyone is welcome to join the celebrations.
“I hope that everyone who visits Belgrave Road on Monday enjoys the lights, the fireworks and some delicious food and I’d like to wish you all a very happy Diwali.”
This year’s Diwali celebrations are supported by the University of Leicester.
The Diwali Day event will require road closures in the area.
Belgrave Road, and the junctions with its side roads, will be fully closed to traffic from 5pm until around 9.30pm on Monday.
In order to maintain clear routes for emergency vehicles through the Belgrave area, parking will be suspended on a number of streets in the area from 6am until 10pm on Monday 24 October.
‘No waiting’ cones will be laid out on Loughborough Road, Holden Street, Ross Walk, Macdonald Road, Hildyard Road, Marjorie Street, Abbey Park Street, Harrison Road, Surrey Street, Doncaster Road, Cossington Street, Rothley Street, Rendell Road and Portsmouth Road. Any vehicles parked on these roads between 6am and 10pm on Monday, and any vehicle causing an obstruction on any road in the Belgrave area, will be ticketed and towed away.
People are strongly advised to join Monday’s celebrations on foot, by bike or by public transport.
A special Diwali park & ride service will be running on Monday, with buses leaving the Birstall Park & Ride site – located at LE4 4NN – from 4pm until 10pm (no service between 7pm and 8pm).
Passengers will be dropped off, and picked up, on Belgrave Road, close to Lower Willow Street.
A return journey for a group of up to five people in one car costs just £6, with the last bus to the Birstall Park & Ride site leaving Belgrave Road at 10pm on Monday.
More details and a downloadable Diwali Guide are available at visitleicester.info/diwali
Diwali Day: Monday 24 October
From 3pm Diwali Village opens (Cossington Street recreation ground)
From 5pm Full closure of Belgrave Road
From 6pm Stage programme
8.10pm approx Fireworks
9pm Diwali Village closes
9.30pm approx Belgrave Road reopens
10pm Last bus returns to the Birstall Park & Ride site