|Labor Day Parade | Brooklyn Carnival|
Commonly called the Labor Day Parade or the West Indian Carnival Parade, these celebrations took place during the pre-Lenten season in the church calendar. In the 1920s, Harlem was the locale that many immigrants from Trinidad and other Caribbean islands in the tri-state area came together for various privately held carnivals. In the mid-1940's Jesse Waddle later organized all of the private street festivals and created the Labor Day celebration. In 1964 Harlem revoked the parade permit because of large fight during Carnival that year, but in 1969 the West Indian-American Day Carnival Association was formed and obtained permission to move the parade to Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, NY, where it has since resided.
Labor Day Parade Overview
All International Caribbean Carnivals are proud expressions of pan-Caribbean culture. Immigrants and descendants come together to proudly celebrate their culture, creativity, and ingenuity. The event brings together people from different island nations to show off to the rest of the world the power and vibrancy of the peoples of the Caribbean.
Essential ingredients of Carnival are masquerade dancers, accompanying floats of popular Caribbean bands or steel pan bands, and the parade route sidewalk filled with Caribbean cuisine, crafts, and Caribbean Flag paraphernalia for sale.
Masquerade camps, also known as "mas," choose a theme for their beautiful and elaborate costumes each year to display along the route. The vibrant colored costumes, the enthusiastic mas members, and well organized choreography merge to tell a story down the parade route. Each year the best told stories win cash prizes.
Masqueraders accompany or are accompanied by, depending on your point of view, by music from the Caribbean. Music plays a very important role in creating an exciting atmosphere. Steel pan bands play to win the "Panorama" competition. Visitors to the Carnival will also enjoy calypso, soca, rap, and reggae. Also, Haitian bands play kompa and Kanaval and use this Carnival as the culmination of a nearly a year's long rivalry, also known as polimik, between musical rivals. The polimik may carry on for many years but the ignition, or re-ignition, of each year's rivalry begins during Haitian Kanaval earlier in the year just before Lent.
To add to the lively atmosphere of masquerade pageantry and music, the sidewalk is filled with food vendors lining the parade route with delicious cuisine from throughout the Caribbean. Those who are unfamiliar with Caribbean cooking will enjoy a mouth-watering potpourri of dishes, drinks, and desserts. Other vendors sell both African and Caribbean artwork, sculptures, beadwork, handmade jewelry, and a wide variety of patriotic Caribbean flag apparel and accessories.
Labor Day Carnival Parade Route
The parade now proceeds from Utica Avenue along Eastern Parkway to Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, NY:
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Labor Day Parade Contact Information
For the latest information about the Brooklyn Carnival, contact the West Indian American Day Carnival Association.
Phone: (718) 467-1797
Address: 323-325 Rogers Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11225
Labor Day Carnival Trip Planner
Are you traveling to Brooklyn for Labor Day Carnival ? Visit the links below to view listings of local hotels:
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