Feliz Navidad! in Sunset Park

December 26, 2011 Denise Romano
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Merrymakers gathered on Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park for theninth annual Paranda Navideña on December 17.

The event is based on an old Latin American holiday traditionwhere people go from house to house and have drinks and food withfriends. Each time the group leaves a home, members from that homejoin. The festivities last all night.

Edgar Alvarez, of Fiesta VIP Entertainment, organized the paradebecause he said he wished to reenact the tradition in the U.S.Here, we brought everyone to the same location, he said. Then,we combine it with a follow-up event – some toy distribution at anundisclosed location.

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This year, the parade was led by a float carrying the band IvanPerez y los Admirables. Those who braved the cold, marched up FifthAvenue to salsa-infused Christmas tunes and crossed over to SeventhAvenue and 43 Street, where toys were given out to neighborhoodchildren.

Janet Graciano and her son Jose, 10, came last year and couldn’twait for this year’s parade to begin. The whole thing was fun; themusic is awesome, Graciano said. What they do for the kids isgreat. I direct a day care so I’m all about the kids. It’s aboutbringing happiness this time of year.

Nicole Accineus works at the law offices of GiselaChavez-Garcia, which helped sponsor the parade. We just had ourone-year anniversary of being in the community and wanted to getinvolved. Especially when they say kids – who says no to kids? sheexplained. We want to help undocumented people – just to put asmile on their faces. Christmas is about giving.

Valerie, who did not want her last name used, attended for thesecond year in a row with her son, Zavian, five. It’s good for thekids. Too bad it’s freezing, she said. Sunset Park does a lot ofthings for children in need.

Zavian, who was warming up inside of Our Lady of Perpetual Help,was also excited for the parade to start. I just can’t wait to getout there, he said.

Sharon, who also did not want her last name to be used, camealong with her son, Davaughn, five. It’s a good opportunity forkids to teach them to give back to the community, she said.

When Davaughn was asked what his favorite part of the day was,he said. Marching in the street!

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