Home Arts & Culture Brooklyn Labor Day Parade 2012: Caribbean Carnival schedule and practical info

Brooklyn Labor Day Parade 2012: Caribbean Carnival schedule and practical info


The West Indian American Day Parade & Carnival celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2012.

The party starts on the Thursday before Labor Day, August 30th, and doesn’t end till around 6 p.m. on the following Monday, September 3rd.

1. Monday September 3, 2012: WEST INDIAN CARIBBEAN AMERICAN LABOR DAY PARADE

The parade starts at 11 a.m. and winds its way down Eastern Parkway, in a glorious display of cultural pride. Get there early to grab a good spot! See the costumes, mas bands, masqueraders, floats, moko jumbies and more. Route: Eastern Parkway and Schenectady Ave. to Flatbush Ave.

2. HOW TO GET THERE: Directions to the Parade

Directions to the Labor Day Parade, provided by WIADCA, the organizers:

• From Manhattan: Take the Manhattan Bridge. The Manhattan Bridge becomes Flatbush Ave. Stay straight to go onto Flatbush Ave. Turn Slight Right onto Grand Army PLZ. Go Straight for about 0.1 miles. Turn Slight Right onto Eastern Parkway go approx. 2.0 miles End at Utica Ave & Eastern Parkway Brooklyn NY.

• From Westchester, the Bronx, Queens, or Connecticut: Triborough Bridge to Brooklyn Queens Express (BQE)/Manhattan Bridge exit to Tillary Street, follow directions from Manhattan.

• From Staten Island and Southern or Central New Jersey: Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Gowanus Expressway (Route 278 towards Manhattan); exit to 38th Street; left on Fourth Avenue for approximately 2 miles; right on Union Street; 5 blocks to Grand Army Plaza; go 1/2 around Plaza; turn right on Eastern Parkway. Go approx. 2.0 miles End at Utica Ave & Eastern Parkway.

• From Long Island: Grand Central Parkway to Jackie Robinson Parkway; exit at Bushwick Avenue; left at third traffic light to Eastern Parkway; approximately 1.5 miles to Utica Avenue.

The West Indian American Day Parade and Carnival celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2012

The West Indian American Day Parade and Carnival celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2012

3. WHAT TO EAT? Labor Day Caribbean Food Fest

Next to the music and costumes, half the fun at the Labor Day parade is the food. Take your pick of vendors: you can find pork, ribs, vegetarian, halal. And there’s everything you might want to eat from the West Indies: fish cakes, sorrel and ginger drinks, tons of deserts. The stalls line Eastern Parkway and start cooking well before the parade begins, so get there early to sample the fare while it’s hot off the stove. Some vendors come from Brooklyn, others from Jersey, and a handful make the trek all the way from the south, for instance Virginia.

4. WHAT TO BUY: Afro-Carib Gear: T-Shirts, Flags, Books, Clothes, Hats

Don’t come without some spare change! The streets are lined with a great collection of affordable gear, including original t-shirts, hats, and flags from every country in the Caribbean.

5. WHAT’S THE MESSAGE?

The festival and parade celebrate Caribbean heritage, music, and culture. But there’s more than that. The roots of this event go back to the history of blacks in America.

6. PRACTICAL INFO: Special Tickets & Parade Map (Parade is FREE)

Come and see the costumes, hear fabulous Caribbean music, grab some ethnic food from the street vendors, and join flag waving crowds celebrating West Indian culture. Among the nations represented are Trinidad, Barbados and Grenada.

• There are indoors and outdoors events. Everything happens rain or shine.

• Some events are especially for kids.

• The Labor Day parade is free. Some events, however, are ticketed.

• Get tickets online at WIADCA.com, email WIADCAINC@GMAIL.COM, or call (718) 467 1797.

7. PAST EVENT 2012: Let the Music Begin! Official Welcome

Thursday, August 30: Mas Mas & More Event.

September 1st 2012 is the “official welcome” ceremony to all mas bands and participants. Music by international DJs. Dr. J, Back to Basics, Trinibago Massive Rhythm Section, Mas competition and more. The event’s open to the public.

When & Where & How Much

• Brooklyn Museum

• 200 Eastern Parkway

• Tickets online or at the door.

8. PAST EVENT Friday August 31st: Brass Band Competition

Running from Saturday evening till 3 a.m. the next day, this steel band competition is about as memorable as any musical event you’ll ever attend.

When & Where & How Much

• Brooklyn Museum

• 200 Eastern Parkway

• Friday doors open 7 p.m. Show at 8 until 3 a.m.

• Tickets online $40. Get tickets online at WIADCA.com, email WIADCAINC@GMAIL.COM, or call (718) 467 1797.

9. PAST EVENT: Sunday, September 2nd, Dimanche Gras or Fat Sunday: All-Star Steel Bands

Come watch and hear the best West Indian steel bands compete in this fabulous carnival event.

When & Where

• Brooklyn Museum

• 200 Eastern Parkway

• Doors open at 6 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m.

The line up includes: Calypso Rose, Shadow, King Ajamu, Black Stalin and many others, along with winners of all competitions; Something Positive Dance Troupe and (direct from Trinidad & Tobago) traditional characters including “pan-around-the-neck” steelband musicians.

10. PAST EVENT Friday August 31, 2012: Official Brass Fest 2012 (Brooklyn Museum)

Let the festivities begin! The Official Brass Band festival features last year’s best bands, the Kings of the 2010 Festival.

When & Where & How Much

• Brooklyn Museum

• 200 Eastern Parkway

• Friday doors open 7 p.m. Show at 8 until 3 a.m.

• Tickets online $45. Get tickets online at WIADCA.com, email WIADCAINC@GMAIL.COM, or call (718) 467 1797.

11. PAST EVENT Saturday September 1st, 2012: Junior Carnival & Parade

Bring the family to a special Kiddie Carnival. There’s a parade and carnival!

• Junior Carnival events include hip hop, steel band, dance, fashion show and spoken word.

• Junior parade kicks off at Kingston Avenue and St. James, and marches to the Brooklyn Museum.

• Start time: 9 a.m.

• End time: 3 p.m.

12. PAST EVENT: Monday September 3rd, 2012: J’Ouvert (the opening of the parade, at 3 AM)

J’Ouvert is the starting festivities of the Carnival. Every year, early Monday morning, if you want to avoid the huge crowds, join the J’Ouvert parade, a celebration of steel pan drums that you can attend to get a good sense of the festivities. From the organizers of the events in 2011:

“Ouvert or Jouvay is the pre-dawn parade / party / roving band that begins after the Dimache Gras show ends at the Brooklyn Museum sometime after 2AM (but a lot of people take a break and then J’Ouvert starts to really cook around 4AM — and J’Ouvert will still be going at dawn, if you want to <<sleep in>> until 6AM!). By tradition, no amplified music is allowed, only steel drums.

“Steel bands (25 of them this year!) will begin gathering at the intersection of Empire Blvd, Flatbush Avenue, and Ocean Avenue at about 2AM, and a procession will start at 4AM: East on Empire, then South on Nostrand to Lefferts Blvd, the end of the procession.”

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