If you haven’t been to the West Indian Caribbean Day Parade on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn New York, you’re definitely missing out. You don’t have to be from the Caribbean to enjoy the West Indian Day Parade. The West Indian Caribbean Day Parade and Carnival celebrated its 49th Anniversary this Monday September 5, 2016. The Labor Day celebration takes place on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn New York in the USA. The parade starts at 8am and ends at 6pm. And once again, as usual, the parade was a big hit.
I have been going to the parade for a number of years and today’s celebration was filled with wonderful Caribbean foods and Music. The parade represents all of the Caribbean islands including: Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Barbados, Grenada, and St. Lucia, Haiti and St. Kitts as well as many other islands. Everyone I encountered was just having a wonderful time, a real blast. According to the US census NY has over 600,000 folks of Caribbean heritage. Many of these residents reside in Brooklyn neighborhoods. The Parade draws over 1 million spectators from around the world each year of all nationalities.
Many of parade goers travel from other USA states and other countries such as Canada, England and several other countries. They all come to Brooklyn to enjoy the carnival and watch the celebrations take place. While many people start their planning for the next parade the day after the parade is over, the major celebrations start four days leading up to the Big Labor Day Carnival. Labor Day is always the first Monday in September. Today, Millions of parade enthusiasts lined the streets most of them decked out in their colorful clothing and costumes. Some parade goers come to the route wearing their decorated tee shirts and waving their flags.
All the colors that many of the people are wearing generally represent their individual islands. But everyone usually have one thing in common: enjoying the music, food and drinks and watching the bands play. The parade starts East of Utica Ave on Eastern Parkway and go West towards the Brooklyn Museum. At the Brooklyn Museum the judges are lined up to judge the masqueraders on their extravagant floats, costumes and performance to decide who the winning band will be. The masqueraders are usually decked out with extravagant feathered head dresses, colorful beaded, feathered and sequenced costumes and floats. They dance to the pulse of the Steel Band and DJ sounds with the parade goers on the sidewalks following along decked out to represent their country of birth or their parents or grandparents.
One definitely should head to the parade hungry and be ready to try some great Caribbean food and drinks. As you walk along the routes, you can’t help but to smell the wonderful aroma from the vendors cooking. All the dishes represent their respective national dishes of their Caribbean Islands like Roti, Doubles, Bake and Saltfish from Trinidad & Tobago. Jerk Chicken, Jerk Pork, Curried Goat, Cow Foot Soup and Escovitch Fish from Jamaica just to name a few. The other islands boast their authentic dishes and drinks as well. All this great cooking is guaranteed to make you hungry. So as I leave Brooklyn’s West Indian Caribbean Labor Day Parade 2016, I hope to see you there next year.
Written By: Ann DaCosta