Archive | October, 2012

Happiness All Around at the Bolivian Parade in Queens

22 Oct


      Parades in the outer boroughs are lots of fun. Not only do you get to see national pride and tradition passed on to the next generation, but there’s always a good chance you can eat some great ethnic food. Jackson Heights in Queens is probably the most diverse neighborhood in the outer boroughs and host to the second annual Bolivian Parade.  This was the last of the ethnic parades for the year and it was celebrated with lots of traditional costumes, lots of energetic dancing and plenty of happiness to share.  It may have been the best of all the smaller ethnic parades.  Once the parade banner and VIPs marched up the parade route on 37th Ave. the first of many costumed marchers and dancers arrived. Getting the crowd really worked up were the tribal Indian representation in Pasion Boliviana. They were great to see. One of the better dance groups to arrive were the Caporales San Simon NY.  Their well choreographed  dance routine got loud applause from the crowd. Soon to follow were their counterparts from Caporales San Simon Virginia in their elaborate costumes and dance. It’s true that smiling is very contagious and it could be seen from the happiness coming from the dancers to the crowd watching. This year’s parade included more children in costumes than last year’s. It is always a nice thing to see tradition passed down to the next generation.

     A more cultural display came when Incallajta arrived with a different display of costume. It must have been difficult for some of the marchers to walk in those shoes. A nice treat was the masquerading marchers of Exaltacion. They were quickly followed by the group Morenada Cocanis with their distinguished slow dance steps. Probably saving the best for last were the Caporales San Simon NY. They were amazing. Even a beauty queen had to get in line and dance with them. Closing out the fine parade were Morenada Central NY with their guest of honor surrounded by ladies tempting him. Much of the crowd left with seeing a grand display of Bolivian culture and tradition not seen in too many places in the USA. I hope the young parade grows into the largest of it’s kind in the country. It really is a special treat to anyone not familiar with Bolivian culture.

Que Viva Bolivia!!!

Hispanics Unite for One Great Parade

16 Oct

It’s not too often that about 19 different countries are represented for one day in  a display of culture and tradition. New York City is one of the few cities that can pull it off in grand style. The warm mid October day brought out nearly one million people to 5th Ave. to see the 49th annual Hispanic Day Parade.  Flags of all Latin American countries were displayed on the parade route from 44th St. to 68th  St. and spectators cheered on as their country of origin marched by or danced in most cases. As a show of unity, the Mother Cabrini marching band carried all the flags of Latin America to kick off the parade. The Honorable Mayor Bloomberg marched to show his support for all the immigrants that now call New York their home. Kicking off the first of many groups were the Spaniards and their flamenco dancers and bagpipe marchers. It’s really a treat to see them every year. As by design in alphabetical order, the first on Latin countries was Argentina showing off their old style cars and singers. The tango dancers must have caught a break this year. Then the fun really started when the first of many Bolivian dancers made their way up the parade route. The San Simon Caporales got the crowd excited with their energetic dance moves and great costumes. Chilean dancers showed off their style of dancing with guacho outfits for the men and evening gowns for the ladies. It was almost a waltz like dance with waving handkerchiefs. Very classy. However, the elegant dancing quickly changed when the Colombians made their way up 5th Ave. Their loud costumes and loud music let everyone know the party starts here and the crowd just loved it.

Toning things down temporarily were the Costa Ricans and Cubans with their display of fine horses and beauty queens. Then the Dominican diablos cracked their whips to pick up the pace again. One of the more energetic dance groups came from Ecuador. They really worked up a sweat. One of the better bands came from the group representing El Salvador but they just warmed things up this years winner of the best representation of culture, the group from Guatemala. Their marching band was on point with soilders doing a unique march. A float with musicians playing the vibes masterfully was a nice touch. Their display of traditional dress and costume gave a unique addition to their presentation.   Conga players were jamming when the Hondurans came up singing and dancing to native songs. The energy level kept going on high when the Mexican Chilenos showed up and danced their tails off. The serious baseline could only mean one thing, the Panamanians were next. They love their bands and had some the best bands and baton twirlers I have seen at any parades this year. They were a joy to watch. Paraguay had an unusual display of balance as several dancers had a few glass bottles resting on their heads. Leading the way with some really good dance moves was the group from Peru showing off several different styles of dance. A definite crowd pleaser was the group from Uruguay with their conga drum band and dancing ladies. Rounding out the great display Hispanic culture and tradition came the small group from Venezuela.

By far the largest representation came from the Bolivians. They were so large many of their marchers had to be placed in between other countries marchers and towards the end of the parade. There was no doubt each of the countries representatives made their people proud and surely reminded them of the beauty of their native land. Hispanics are very diversified yet united by one common language. Their place in this city and this country is slowly but surely rising to prominence. Mark your calendar for next year’s 50th anniversary parade celebration. It’s sure to be one of the best the city offers.


Panamanian Bands Rule the Parade

10 Oct


     Franklin Ave. in Brooklyn has been changing over the years with new chic and trendy shops popping up here and there. One thing that I hope won’t change is the annual Panamanian parade where marching bands come up from parts of the USA and from Panama. A visit to Franklin Ave. wouldn’t be the same without stopping at Kelso’s for some delicious Panamanian food  to enjoy. The loud banging of the drumline and the blaring trumpets called everyone within hearing distance to come out and celebrate Panmanian pride and culture. The Panamanian Veterans Marching Band started the parade off dressed in their sharp blue and white uniforms and soon followed by community groups. It’s always great to see the tradition and culture passed on from generation to generation. Ballet Folklorico had the cutest kids dressed in their polleras while the adult ladies showed off the intricate dresses. Then the crowd was treated to El Hogar Banda from Panama. They were very good and were soon followed by a group dancing to typical Panamanian music and a float with the beauty queen in a highly decorated costume.

     The best part of the parade started when the marching band from Maryland made their way up the parade route followed colorful costumes of the Ballet Folklorico Panamena. Arguably the best band to appear was the Banda Christana with their skillful baton twirlers and energetic drummers and bugle corp. They crowd loved them. Closing out the parade was the local pride of Brooklyn. The Panamanian Drum and Bugle Corp.  It was tough to say which one was better since they were both excellent and well rehearsed. The end of the parade route was by a local school were the parade VIPs were on stage and the different bands performed for them. That was a lot of fun. As I made my way towards Eastern Parkway, the aroma of good food was all over the place. Everyone there was ready for the after parade party festivities…the good food and good music and good times.

             Que Viva Panama!!!

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