Brooklyn’s spectacular West Indian Day Parade expected to bring millions to Eastern Parkway
The colorful West Indian-American Day Carnival and Parade is coming to Brooklyn on Labor Day for the 48th year and is expected to attract almost two million people.
Along Eastern Parkway, one will be able to hear the sounds of calypso, reggae, zouk (a style of music from the French Caribbean), soca (“soul calypso,” a more dance-oriented style of calypso) and more.
Although the parade originated with immigrants from Trinidad, nowadays you can see floats representing Jamaica, Haiti, Guyana and everywhere in the Caribbean. And while you’re there, you can also sample Caribbean delicacies such as roti, calalloo, ackee fish and more.
The morning before the parade itself, a smaller, pre-dawn parade known as “J’Ouvert” (“I Open”), originated by Haitian immigrants, takes place.
This parade, whose floats are limited to steel bands, starts from Grand Army Plaza then proceeds down Flatbush Avenue and east on Empire Boulevard to Nostrand Avenue.
Golden Krust, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and WIADCA will present, for the first time, the National Jamaican Patty Eating Contest. (Call 718-467-1797 to try for a spot.)
The main parade on Monday begins around 11 a.m., and proceeds from Utica Avenue along Eastern Parkway to Grand Army Plaza. This year’s grand marshals are Kamira Medford, Emma Marajdeen, Shenarly Sealy and Conner Bedeau.
The parade has also been known, unfortunately, for incidents of violence. Last year, Michael Sampson, 55, was shot to death near the parade route, and at least two others were also shot. In 2013, two people were stabbed to death and police responded to one shooting after the parade. In 2011, a shootout on a street corner off the parade route left two police officers wounded and three people, including a bystander who was sitting on a nearby stoop, dead.
Schedule of events:
Friday, Sept. 4, at 10 a.m.: Celebrate the annual Stay in School Concert and College Fair (for teens and young adults).
Friday night, 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.: The popular Brass Fest concert, supported by Guinness Live it Up! featuring Pressure Busspipe, Ravi B & Karma, Bunji Garlin, Soca diva Fay-Ann Lyons & the Asylum Vikings Band, Lyrikal and many more.
Saturday, Sept. 5, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: The Junior Route begins at Kingston Avenue/St. John’s Place and continues to Franklin Avenue/President Street ending at Brooklyn Museum. Bring the kids out to “jump & dance” in the Junior Carnival Street Parade, led by four junior grand marshals: Kamira Medford, Emma Marajdeen, Shenarly Sealy and Conner Bedeau. It costs $2 at the door.
Saturday night at 8 p.m.: Enjoy steel pan music at the annual Steelband Panorama showcase featuring 11 of the best Steel Orchestras vying for the title of 2015 New York Panorama Champs.
Sunday, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m.: The Dimanche Gras finale includes the inaugural Golden Krust Patty Eating Contest presented by the Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and WIADCA and Calypso legends — the Mighty Sparrow, David Rudder, Swallow and Edwin Yearwood along with the King & Queen of the Bands and Something Positive!
Monday, Sept. 7, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.: The New York Caribbean Carnival Parade, led by the Splendor of the Zulu Warriors from St. Thomas, on the famed Eastern Parkway “cultural row.”
For full details and ticket prices, visit http://wiadcacarnival.org/2015/08/5-day-annual-new-york-caribbean-carnival-2015/
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