West Indian Day Parade & Carnival 2009: 42nd Anniversary in NYC
West Indian Day Parade and Carnival 2009 is happening NOW. The J'ouvert part of West Indian Day Carnival celebration started at 2am to 10am September 7th on Labor Day on the streets of Flatbush, Brooklyn. West Indian Day Parade started at 11am from Utica Avenue to Grand Army Plaza along Eastern Parkway.
What is the West Indian Day Carnival?
The centerpiece of the Carnival is the extraordinarily colorful parade that wends its way down Eastern Parkway on Labor Day. Thousands of masqueraders dance their way along miles of Parkway flanked by dense crowds of onlookers. Floats loaded with elaborately costumed revelers illustrate a particular theme chosen by each parading group, masquerade band or camp for that year.
It has been a carnival tradition since 1920s in private spaces in Harlem. In the mid 1940s, the carnival expanded to a street festival on Labor Day, on 7th Avenue in Harlem. In 1964, the permit was revoked due to a disturbance, but a committee headed by Carlos Lezama obtained permission to parade on Eastern Parkway 5 years later.
Events are held every year from the Thursday before Labor Day through the weekend, culminating in the parade on Labor Day itself. The parade now proceeds from Utica Avenue along Eastern Parkway to Grand Army Plaza. Highlights include a steel band competition, a Dimanche Gras (Fat Sunday) extravaganza and a special Kiddie Carnival which runs from President Street to the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
You don't have to be from West Indies to join the festival. Everyone is invited to take part in the spectacle of thousands in colorful costumes.
More photos and videos as they come in!