Queens residents and businesses with Caribbean roots were expected to play a colorful and flavorful role in the 35th annual West Indian American Day Carnival Parade to be held Monday on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn.
Organizers expected more than 3 million people to attend the parade, which is the culmination of a weekend-long Carnival celebration.
Six grand marshals, including U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Manhattan) and Mayor Michael Bloomberg were scheduled to preside over the event, which grew from modest roots as a masquerade party in a Harlem apartment to what is today the largest festival and parade in the United States.
In Springfield Gardens, Roydel Grant, a chef at the Percys Boston Jerk Style restaurant, was preparing to serve up chicken served in savory jerk, barbecue and orange sauces from a stall on Eastern Parkway between Brooklyn and Kingston streets.
Calypso City in Richmond Hill planned to participate in the parade and had a weekend full of special musical events planned at its Jamaica Avenue night club.
Richmond Hill-based Universal Airlines, which flies to Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname and Aruba, had a giant inflatable airplane manufactured that will float down Eastern Parkway as part of the Sesame Flyers masquerade, or mas, band.
The aircraft will be part of a masquerade with the theme Go Wild that will include bands on two trucks and 800 revelers dressed in costumes.
The Sesame Flyers, a Brooklyn-based band looking for its fourth consecutive win in the Large Band of the Year competition, is one of about 30 so-called mas bands that will parade down Eastern Parkway from Utica Avenue past Grand Army Plaza.
The bands, comprised of up to 1,000 costumed individuals, pass a reviewing stand set up at Grand Army Plaza, where they are judged based on presentation, the number of revelers in costume, costume design, how well the band is organized and the music. The winners receive cash prizes.
Many borough residents were expected to attend the parade. Last year stores along Liberty Avenue sold out of Trinidadian and Guyanese flags as enthusiastic parade-goers emptied shelves on their way to the festivities.
Selwyn Williams, who emigrated from Trinidad in 1992, has attended Carnival celebrations in Brooklyn for the past seven years.
It helps keep a cultural connection to Trinidad alive, said Williams, noting particular fondness for the early morning Jouvert celebration, which starts around 4 a.m. Monday. Jouvert, which means daybreak, kicks off Mondays celebrations with an informal parade featuring steel pan bands and mud-slinging that was transplated from Trinidad.
You play with body paint and mud. The idea behind it is to disguise ones self, said Williams. When everyone is doused with paint or covered with mud, you cant recognize the bank manager form the janitor. There is no class distinction.
Reach reporter Daniel Massey by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2002 Community News Group
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