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Milestone march: Caribbean carnival and parade turns 50!

Carnival colors: Revelers will Eastern Parkway with flags and feathered outfits on Sept. 4, the final day of Carnival Week.
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Brooklyn’s biggest parade goes gold!

The West Indian American Day Parade has reached a golden milestone this year, celebrating 50 years of promoting Caribbean culture and parading colorful outfits through the streets of New York. The theme for this year’s Carnival Week is “From a Dream to a Legacy” — an appropriate message as the parade looks forward to its next 50 years, said the president of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association.

“We are blessed to have marked 50 years of Caribbean impact, culture, education, economic contribution, services and carnival in New York state,” said William Howard.

Making it to 50 is a major achievement, said one of its most colorful participants.

“It’s a milestone to bring this culture together so we can celebrate,” said Kay Mason, a nine-time winner of the parade’s Carnival Queen contest.

Here are a few highlights to check out this year:

Reggae Unda Di Stars

This funky reggae party kicks off four nights of Caribbean music on the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum. The night will feature reggae ambassadors Cocoa Tea, Ghanian dancehall reggae artist Stonebwoy, and Brooklyn’s own Afrobeat songstress Wunmi. Musician Stephen “Ragga” Marley, the son of Bob Marley, will appear to accept a posthumous tribute to his iconic father.

Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, www.wiadcacarnival.org). Aug. 31; 7 pm–1 am. $60 ($125 VIP).

Brass Fest

This concert devoted to soca music, an offshoot of calypso, will star The All Stars, Blaxx, Lyrikal, Farmer Nappy, Problem Child, and more performers from around the Caribbean, along with Brooklyn group Rayzor & Request Band.

Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, www.wiadcacarnival.org). Sept. 1; 7 pm–3 am. $65 ($125 VIP).

J’ouvert Parade

This public street festival, whose name means “daybreak,” traditionally starts in the pre-dawn hours. But violence in previous years has caused the city to move the start time to the moment of dawn, at 6 am. Expect lots of steel band music, police checking party-goers for alcohol and weapons — and an unofficial party starting at midnight the night before. The parade will start at Grand Army Plaza, travel through Prospect Park on Flatbush Avenue, turn left onto Empire Boulevard, then right on Nostrand Avenue until it ends at Midwood Street.

Parade starts at Grand Army Plaza (Flatbush Avenue at Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights). Sept. 4 at 6 am. Free.

The Parade!

Thousands of celebrants in colorful outfits will parade down Eastern Parkway during the seven-hour festival, along with more sedately dressed politicians, including honorary Grand Marshals Gov. Cuomo and Mayor DeBlasio. More than a million visitors are expected to line route, cheering on the parade in between bites of traditional Caribbean foods from vendors along the way.

Eastern Parkway (from Utica Avenue to Grand Army Plaza, www.wiadcacarnival.org). Sept. 4, 11 am–6 pm. Free.

Posted 12:00 am, August 28, 2017
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