Caribbean culture, West Indian Day Parade 2019, Eastern Parkway, Labor Day Parade, Carnival, Brooklyn, BK Reader
Photo: Raymond Hagans for BK Reader

COVID-19 won’t stop the organizers of the West Indian American Day Carnival from bringing the festivities to the people of Brooklyn and New York City. Although it will make for a few changes.

West Indian American Day Carnival Association said it would be moving programming online for the 53rd anniversary of the major celebration, going back to its roots with the theme ‘Back to Love.’

“We will not give in to COVID-19,” WIADCA Chairlady Angela Sealy said. “We will celebrate our collective heritage, our joy and creative expressions in every way we can, safely.”

Sealy said out of concern for others and to follow guidelines, “virtual is the way to go, it is our future.”

Festivities will kick off on August 28 with the International Youth Fest from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The evening will be a virtual end of summer Caribbean talent showcase for 12-20-year-olds, promoting performing arts and cultural diversity, with all performances welcome.

On September 4, the NY Carnival Brass Fest will take place with “pure love and vibes.” Caribbean music ambassadors will bring Soca, Afrobeats, reggae and kompa direct to people’s living rooms  in the virtual show from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The main event will take place on September 7, when organizers will hold New York Carnival: One Love Road, an online version of the annual parade day that will run from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

WIADCA is working with J’Ouvert City International to bring together cultural partners, acknowledge past and present supporters and elected officials, honor essential workers and those we lost as this year’s Virtual Marshals.

“This momentous occasion will mark our city’s strength and resilience in the midst of COVID tragedies and significant cultural crossroads,” WIADCA said in a statement.

“Going back to our roots, the day will be led by displays of traditional ancestral characters, short programs, honors and speaking opportunities that will convey the importance of the day’s events – all together sealing a cultural timestamp for generations to come.”

At-home masqueraders are encouraged to put on their costumes for the event and show off their handmade designs.

The final event will be held on September 26, when Panology will take place. WIADCA will team up with Pan in Motion to delve into the revolution of the steel pan. Donations are appreciated for all events.

WIADCA President Jean Joseph said: “While we in unity celebrate our culture, our pride, our Caribbean diversity this year, we pray we will again bring the tourists, their dollars, and the excitement back to the famed Eastern Parkway.”

For more information you can visit www.wiadcacarnival.org

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