Crown Heights

Get ready for the Panamanian Day Parade 

October 11, 2019 Kelly Mena
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Crown Heights will fill with thousands of revelers and proud Panamanian nationals this Saturday for the annual Panamanian Day Parade, which celebrates the independence of the South American country from Colombia in 1903. 

The 24-year-old parade — which coincides with the last weekend of national Hispanic Heritage Month — is a nod to the influence of Panamanian culture in New York City. 

The festivities will begin around 10:30 a.m. on the corner of Franklin Avenue and Bergen Street and end at around 4:30 p.m. at Classon Avenue between President Street and Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. 

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Revelers will get a glimpse at brightly dressed ambassadors wearing traditional polleras and molas in a nod to the country’s heritage. The parade will feature decorated open-air cars carrying pageant queens, closely followed by musical groups performing rhythm and blues, jazz, reggae and Latin music. Featured artists include Osvaldo Ayala, Rossi Perez, Alferdito Payne, Jazz Fusion de la Policía Nacional de Panama and others, according to Caribbean Life

The event will begin with an opening ceremony and end with a street fair that will feature traditional Panamanian foods and local artists. 

Women dressed in traditional “polleras” during the Panamanian Day Parade. Image courtesy of Enrique Small

Brooklyn is home to an estimated 959,000 immigrants, according to the 2017 U.S. Census. The parade is estimated to draw more than 30,000 attendees. 

“We are here in the U.S. We are present, we are not only a canal — we are a diverse group of people,” said Enrique Small, vice president of the Day of Independence Committee of Panamanians in New York, Inc. 

The event begins at 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 12, at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Bergen Street in Crown Heights.

Correction (Oct. 15 at 3:30 p.m.): A previous version of this story included an incorrect number of Brooklyn’s estimated immigrant population. The story has been updated. 

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  1. Caylen Bryant

    The women in the photo are not wearing polleras! They are the Kuna Indians who are indigenous to Panama. Polleras are big white dresses made of lace.

    Las mujeres en la foto no están llevando polleras! Son los indios Kuna que son indígenas de Panamá. Las polleras son grandes vestidos blancos hechos de encaje.