5,500 police are on duty, with another 4,000 on stand-by, the Notting Hill Carnival will have more security than the Royal Wedding.
Coming so soon after the London riots, this year's annual street party takes place under real scrutiny.
Starting in the 1960s soon after West Indians started arriving in London, the neighbourhood has seen a change from poor and run-down to an area with booming property prices and gentrification.
For some, Carnival's image has always been painted in a negative light by mainstream media, who tend to ignore the positives the street party brings as well. "It's a great celebration of culture and multiculturalism and it's unfortunate that it's reported on in terms of crime," said Ishmail Blagrove, the Exhibition organizer.
Al Jazeera's correspondent Simon McGregor-Wood reports from London.