The Notting Hill Carnival is Europe's biggest street festival, attracting 1.5 million people over each August bank holiday to the streets of west London. Financially, it nets the capital GBP93 million (HK$1.3 billion).
Yet, it's never far from controversy, and this year is no different, The organisers claim that London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, is sabotaging the event. That's odd, because he is usually seen as a supporter of black Caribbean rights in the capital.
Mr Livingstone is championing a rival mini-carnival, called Caribbean Showcase, which is planned for Hyde Park on carnival's biggest day - today. Why he's doing this is not clear. Critics, unsurprisingly, blame the mayor's 'growing ego'.
The Notting Hill Carnival was set up 41 years ago as an antidote to the troubled race relations in the former slum area. The neighbourhood used to be grotty and crime-ridden, home to new black immigrants and resentful white locals. That combustible mix ignited seemingly every year, around this time.
That's no longer true. Today's trendy Notting Hill and its surrounding environs are the model of London's envied racial integration, helped no end over the decades by the annual carnival.
So why change things? The answer may begin a few years ago, when a local government committee advised that the carnival had outgrown the area. It said 1.5 million people parading on floats - through crowds so densely packed that it's impossible to move through the narrow streets - had become a huge safety risk.
Police, too, feared they could no longer patrol the carnival adequately. Headlines were common about police turning a blind eye to gang muggings, open drug-taking and dealing - for fear of starting a riot.
Many residents, too, were not keen on the festival. Where once the area was full of black residents and trendy bohemian types, now bankers and international businessman have flooded in, and they dislike the annual inconvenience. I have friends in Notting Hill, half of whom vacate their homes each year, tired of party-goers dancing and urinating in their gardens. The other half adore the festivities and don't want it to move - not least those who rent out their toilets for 50 pence a time.
Festival organisers don't want to move, either: uprooting would kill the carnival atmosphere, they say.
It seems the Greater London Authority (GLA), led by the mayor, is unable to force the festival to move. Instead, some observers claim, officials are surreptitiously and slowly poisoning the carnival by bribing away its entertainers. The GLA denies sabotage, but the new, rival carnival's estimated GBP300,000 cost is coming largely from public funds - a luxury that the loss-making Notting Hill Carnival has never been afforded.