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SCHEDULE for Brooklyn's Labor Day Caribbean Carnival — Parades, Music, Food

2013's Five Day Bash of Steel Bands, Floats, Costumes & Carib Culture


The West Indian American Day Parade & Carnival celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2012. The party starts on the Thursday before Labor Day and doesn't end till around 6 p.m. on the following Monday. Now, that's a serious party! 

1. Sunday September 1, 2013: 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.encore presentation featuring Panorama and King & Queen costume winners, and live performances by King David Rudder singing Hammer, High Mas’ & Trini to de Bone, the legendary Calypso Rose performing Tempo & Fire Fire, Lil’ Devyn, Swallow singing Fire in de Backseat, Lima Calbio, and more! Highlights include three of the world’s top Steelpan virtuosos appearing for the first time in the US in an on-stage showdown – Robert Greenidge, Andy Narrell and Liam Teague will duel for the “BEST OF THE EAST” title.

When & Where

  • Brooklyn Museum
  • 200 Eastern Parkway
The show starts at 7:00 PM , goes until 1 AM.
  • Tickets cost $35 plus fee, more at the door.

    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.

    3. HOW TO GET THERE: Directions to the Parade

    Photo courtesy of the WIADCA website

    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.


    4. WHAT TO EAT? Labor Day Caribbean Food Fest

    Photo by Ellen Freudenheim

    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.

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

    Photo by Ellen Freudenheim

    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.


    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. Read more from the event organizers

    7. PAST: Costume Competition and "Caribbean Woodstock"

    Flamboyant costumers are in abundance.Photo courtesy of WIADCA, the event organizers.
    This is the "official welcome" ceremony to all mas bands and participants. Billed as a "world music festival" it boasts Caribbean entertainers in a wonderful mix of costume, competition, Steelpan, and musicians performing ZOUK, LATIN, HIP HOP, KOMPA, SOCA and REGGAE. Performers include Tallpree, Jeannie Sol, Adrian Dutchin, Statement, Trinity, Problem Child, Ricky T and others.

    When & Where & How Much

    • Brooklyn Museum
    • 200 Eastern Parkway
    • Tickets online or at the door.
    Caribbean Woodstock & Costume Competition.

    Doors open at 8.
    Price: Advance tickets $25, more at the door.

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

    Photo by Ellen Freudenheim, 2011

    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. You can also order a $140 four day ticket online.
    • See parade map 

    9. PAST: Brass Fest, a Brass Band Competition 8 PM to 3 AM

    You won't starve at the West Indian American Parade. Here, a pork roast. Photo by E Freudenheim

    Running from Friday until, usually, the wee hours of the next morning, this steel band competition is about as memorable as any musical event you'll ever attend. 2013 events feature multi-award-winning Soca artist, Machel Montano HD along with Farmer Nappy and Patrice Roberts. Also performing is Lyrikal, Brooklyn’s Willie Villegas Salsa Band, St. Lucia’s Teddyson John, & TJ Project, Pumpa, Boodoo Singh Tassa Drummers. Hosted by MC Wassy, Giselle “D” Wassi One, all guaranteed to electrify the audience with sizzling high energy performances.

    When & Where & How Much

    • Brooklyn Museum
    • 200 Eastern Parkway
    • Friday doors open 7 p.m. Show at 8 until 3 AM.
    • Tickets online $25. Get tickets online at WIADCA.com, email WIADCAINC@GMAIL.COM, or call (718) 467 1797.

    10. PAST EVENT: Saturday August 31, 2013: Junior Carnival & Parade Day

    Thousands of children and families enjoy music and “jump-up” while competing in their own costume parade. When & Where
    • Route begins at corner of Kingston Avenue & St. John’s Place continues to Franklin Avenue & President Street ending at the Brooklyn Museum grounds
    • 200 Eastern Parkway
    • From 8 AM until 3 PM
    • $2 at the door - per person

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