Annual Brooklyn Three Kings Day Parade celebrates its 20th anniversary

January 9, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Two young girls lead a llama down the street. Eagle photos by Arthur De Gaeta

New York’s largest cultural and traditional celebration of the Christian holiday of the Epiphany celebrated its 20th anniversary on Sunday with a festive parade. The annual Three Kings Day Parade took place at the intersections of Meeker Street and Avenue of Puerto Rico (Graham Avenue) in Williamsburg.

To kick off the festivities, a solemn Mass was held at All Saints Parish located at 115 Throop Ave.  Mass began at 11:30 a.m. and was celebrated in Spanish.

As tradition goes, every Jan. 5, before going to sleep, children leave grass or hay under their beds for the camels that carry the Three Kings on their travels to deliver gifts to children around the world. The next day, friends and families gather to celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings. The Brooklyn Three Kings Day Parade continues this tradition by hosting a yearly parade.

This year’s parade honored the memory of Ken Thompson, Brooklyn’s first African-American district attorney, and celebrated the achievements of New York City leaders in government, community development, business, education, law and media.

This year’s Parade Godfather was Eric Gonzalez, acting Brooklyn District Attorney, and Parade Godmother was Evelyn Cruz, community coordinator for U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez.

The parade’s grand marshal was Mike Nieves, president and CEO of Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, Inc. (HITN). HITN was established in 1983 as the first U.S. Latino-controlled commercial Spanish-language media company delivering educational programming to homes nationwide on satellite and cable, focusing on health, financial literacy and education.

The parade traveled down Graham Avenue in Williamsburg to the sound of Caribbean and Latin American music. Each year the parade features celebrity appearances, musical and cultural performances and special guests.

Local school children dressed as kings and angels as they led the Three Kings, their camels, llamas and other animals to a performance stage on Graham Avenue and Broadway. There was also a colorful display of flags, costumes and floats.

The NYPD color guard proudly displayed its flags while the band played to a steady drum beat. Comptroller Scott Stringer and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams proudly walked with well-wishers.

The Three Kings rode atop a float waving to the crowd. School children from P.S 34 (Oliver H. Perry Elementary School) and P.S 86 marched with their classes.  A few antique cars were the last to follow the parade’s route.

Immediately after the parade, the Kings distributed gifts to the children participating in the day’s events.