New York Caribbean Week returns with same pride and new, exciting additions

September 1, 2015 Jaime DeJesus
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For the 48th year, Caribbean culture will be celebrated in Brooklyn as the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIAMDCA) presents its annual New York Caribbean Week. The five-day festival is a collection of events that celebrates the culture with colorful and massive costumes, concerts, art and the New York Caribbean Carnival Parade.

“This year, the theme is ‘One Caribbean’ – one people, one voice,” said Anne-Rhea Smith, a member of WIADCA. “We firmly believe in cultural diversity and partnership within people in the community. It keeps us alive and growing and keeps us servicing the community at large, particularly the Caribbean American community.”

For the week’s festivities and parade, WIADCA’s mission is to get families to appreciate the art of the Caribbean culture.

“They celebrate it and show pride of their ancestors and elders within the performing arts and music and all the wonderful stuff,” said Smith. “Caribbean Week is the culmination of our work year-round. Not only is it a prominent tourism week but it’s good for economics. It provides the local vendors and cultural groups the opportunity to show their products and be part of a larger celebration.”

Throughout the years, both the carnival and parade has been widely popular. Smith attributes this to the borough’s diversity. “Brooklyn has one of the largest Caribbean populations in the country. It’s a melting pot,” she said. “It gives them a sense of pride and culture attachment because many of them are not able to visit their home. This carnival allows them, for five days, to feel home and share in comradery and community. It gives them the chance to feel what it would be like to be in their nation through cuisine, arts costuming, and masking.”

This year, the week will see several new additions.

“This year, we are adding the first annual Golden Krust Bakery Patty Eating Contest, presented by Borough President Eric Adams,” she said, as contestants will attempt to eat the most mini patties in two minutes.
“There will also be enhancing stage presentation viewing stations for parkway,” she went on, adding that efforts are being made to make the week contemporary. “We are working very hard to maintain a positive message as we progress to modern presentation.”

There are many favorites but two remain constant. “The food is number one, but they look forward to being part of family. Family is warm, welcoming people that are excited to share and educate.”

This year’s parade grand marshals are the Honorable Sylvia Ash, Supreme Court Justice and chairperson of the Municipal Credit Union, Maxine Williams, director of diversity for Facebook, Kenneth Mapp, governor of the US Virgin Islands and Earl Phillips, secretary and treasurer of TWU Local 100.

Elected officials such as Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Adams are also expected to be in attendance for the parade.

The New York Caribbean Week begins on Thursday, September 3, with many of the events taking place at the Brooklyn Museum grounds. It will conclude with the New York Caribbean Carnival Parade on Monday, September 7 on Eastern Parkway from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., which will be live-streamed on WIADCA’s website.

For ticket pans, a list of events and to live-stream, visit www.wiadcacarnival.org.


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