Tag Archives: NYC

Greeks Turn 5th Avenue into a Sea of Blue and White

16 Apr
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Greek Marching Band Gets the Party Started

     The second leg of the dual parade day brought me to 5th Avenue to celebrate the 82nd annual Greek Independence Day Parade. Everywhere you looked on the parade route, from 64th to 79th streets, blue and white Greek flags were being displayed or waved. The parade coincides as close as possible to the actual date of Independence of March 25th. Hundreds of thousands of revelers turned out to celebrate this festive event which is televised locally on MY9 and internationally where millions in Greece can see the beautiful event. The crowd was really anxious to get things started and as usual the mounted police signaled the start of the parade.

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Evzones Marching Up 5th Avenue

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Folkloric Costumes

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Proud Marcher

 

 

     Parade organizers, The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, led the way to the reviewing stand on 68th street where VIPs and dignitaries captured the amazing display of Greek pride and culture. Among the honored guests were His Eminence Archbishop  Demitrios of America, Mayor Bill deBlasio, US Senator Chuch Schumer and US Rep Carolyn Maloney. This year’s Grand Marshall, George M. Marcus, was honored for his contribution to the fabric of this country. The crowd got an special treat when the Mantazros Philharmonic Society from Corfu, Greece played a marching tune. They led the way for everyone’s favorite part of the parade when the Ezvones, the Presidential Guard,  marched in unison. It really is a special part of a Greek tradition in NYC that makes this parade one of the best.

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     The Greeks are a very religious people. All the Orthodox churches from the tri-state area and even Canada march in the parade with members displaying banners that commemorate the Greek Wars for Independence against the Ottoman Empire. Many floats display images of War Heroes or events that were pivotal in gaining their Independence. Several marchers wore traditional wardrobe that made you feel as though you were in the countryside on the hills of Greece.  This parade is truly a celebration of the unity of Greece and America. The best way to cap off the the double parade day was to head over to Uncle Nick’s on 9th Avenue for some delicious Greek cuisine.

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LONG LIVE GREECE!!!!

Persians Celebrate Nowruz on Madison Avenue on Double Parade Day

15 Apr
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Aftab Dance Group Getting the Crowd Worked Up

     The first of two parades started right on time at 12 noon with a colorful display of traditional costume and dance. This is the 10th year the Persian community has been celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on Madison Ave. between 38th and 25th streets. They always have some of the most colorful floats with signs of Spring and rebirth present. Traditional costumes and traditional dancing was the theme of the day. Kicking things off was a festive group with traditional characters Hajji Firuz and Amu Nowruz getting the crowd worked up for a day of fun, music, dancing, food and national pride.

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     A perennial favorite of the parade is the Bahar Dance Ensemble with their traditional  costume and dance that never disappoints. They really have fun showing off their moves at the parade. Soon after them were parade favorites, the Aftab Dance Group. This young group always has new choreographed dances that pleases the crowd.  Persians are from an ancient people in what today would be Iran, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. A group displayed banners displaying their Zoroastrian heritage and their motto..Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds. A great way to live. Closing out the parade is a group chanting the name of Iran carrying a huge traditional Iranian flag while they made their way to Madison Square Park. The festivities kept going with some delicious Persian food and more music and dance in the park. Luckily, the parade ended in time for me to make a bee line to 5th Ave and 63rd St where the Greek Independence Day parade was getting ready to kick off. There was time thousands of years ago where these two cultures would have marched to battle…this time they march with cultural pride and love.

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Colorful Tartans on Display as the Scottish Take Over 6th Avenue

7 Apr
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Leading the Way

     The culmination of a week long festival known as Tartan Week occurred with a proud display of Scottish culture and colorful tartans. This young parade of just 21 years is growing more and more in popularity with more people visiting from Scotland for the event. It also helped that the warm early April weather invited tens of thousands to line up the parade route on 6th Avenue from 44th to 56th streets. Flags were draped over the railing and revelers waved flags in anticipation of a fun day with plenty of pipe and drum bands marching up the parade route. As usual, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade and the fanfare started right away with this years Grand Marshall, Sir Billy Connolly, waving to his fans.

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Sir Billy Connolly and wife Pamela Stephenson

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Mt. Kisco Scottish Pipes and Drum Rock the Parade

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Honorary Young Fireman, Ross, enjoying the moment

 

     Leading the large array of pipe and drum bands were the perennial favorites Mt. Kisco Scottish Pipe and Drum Marching Band. They always do a great job in getting the crowd worked up. Various influential Scottish organizations made their way up the route including the Scottish-American Foundation and Carnegie Hall.  The FDNY Pipe and Drum Band appointed Ross, a young visitor from Scotland, as an honorary marcher with the group. Young Ross wants to be a fireman when he grows up. Right behind them were another favorite with an assortment of colorful tartans. The Pipes and Drum of Tir na nOg got a loud cheer from the crowd and a salute from the emcee at the reviewing stand on 52nd St.  A group that has marched from the very first parade are the Shamrock and Thistle Pipe and Drum Band from New Jersey.

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Shamrock and Thistle Pipe and Drum Band

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Shelties Stealing Hearts

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One Woman Wrecking Crew

 

     One of the most welcomed groups are always the Westies. Everybody loves it when the dogs bring their owners for a walk up the parade route. Of course some of them wear their best threads for the occasion. Soon after them some Scottish dancers show off  their moves. Of course, the parade always lets its mascot loose. Good old Nessie greeted the crowd. A newer group surprised the revelers when NH Scot Pipes and Drum played with heart and precision. Everyone was impressed with a large group in from Scotland. An award winning North Lanarkshire Schools Pipe Bands showed the crowd why they are number one. A local band from Kearny, NJ always represents what the parade is all about. The Scots American Club Pipe and Drum Band are always impressive. After the parade closes, many marchers head over to 55th Street for an impromptu jam session where they play until they get kicked out.  Rebels to the end. Gotta love it.

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See Ya Next Year

 

 

Over 2 Million Strong Come to 5th Avenue for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

17 Mar
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NYPD Emerald Society Leads the Way

     One of New York City’s oldest traditions continued with a huge crowd of well over two million people lining up the parade route on 5th Avenue for the 258th celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The honoring of the patron saint of both Ireland and NYC is a way to keep the connection and unity between the people of both nations. People come from all parts of the country for this grand event. This year the parade was held on the 16th for religious observances on the 17th which fell on a Sunday.  The parade has evolved quite a bit since its origin in 1762, where today top High School marching bands across the country come in for the event to showcase their talents. All 32 counties from Ireland send their representatives to march. In this parade, everyone marches. There are no floats or cars. Everyone marches the 2.5 miles up 5th Ave. and stops to greet Archbishop Timothy Dolan in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  Revelers call out their counties name like they are checking in at school when their name is called. As it has happened since about 1851, the 69th Regiment, the original “fighting Irish”, lead the parade route with their beloved mascots, a pair of Irish Wolfhounds.

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69th Regiment Officer with Mascot

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Lancers Getting the Parade Started

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Honoring St. Patrick

 

     One of the largest marching bands from Londonderry, New Hampshire was the honorary High School band leading the first group of marchers. They were a great indication of the talent level seen throughout the day. Pipes and drum bands reigned supreme throughout the day with favorites like the NYPD Emerald Society Pipes and Drum band setting the bar way high. The Blue Wall always take care of their own whether here or on the other side. Included as part of the celebration was the family and friends of Detective Steven D. McDonald. It was great to see his family continue to honor his name and message for all to see…Love is the Way.

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Honoring A Special Man

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These Ladies Always Have Fun at the Parade

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FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums

 

     County representatives from Ireland walked up the parade route displaying large tapestries of St. Patrick or another religious symbol. The crowd got a special treat when prize winning Maghery Fife and Drum Band from County Donegal played a beautiful tune. They got a loud cheer from everyone especially one of my favorite group of revelers, the Half Mad McLaughlins from Brooklyn. They always have a great time and are the life of the parade.

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Maghery Band Academy from Donegal

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We Will Never Forget

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Bagpipers Doing Their Thing

 

     A crowd favorite that brings out national pride to everyone present is the FDNY memorial group 343 which represents the number of fireman lost during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The banner now says 343 and counting for all those first responders that keep dying of cancer and other diseases related to the exposure to the toxins in the air. One thing is for sure…. We Will Never Forget. Another High School Band that stepped up their game was Jefferson Davis from Alabama. For a small group, they packed a big punch. It was the first time in the Big Apple for many of these high school students and what a way to be in the mix of one of the biggest parades in the city.  If this is any indication of the 2019 parades season, it’s going to be an amazing year.  But at least for one day out of the year, we are all Irish.

Written by: Albert Terc

Photos by: Albert Terc

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Eirinn go Brach!!!

 

America Honors Its Heroes On Centennial Mark of End of WW1

12 Nov

 

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Raise Our Flags Up High

     The red carpet was rolled out for the thousands of Veterans being honored in the annual Veterans Day Parade up 5th Ave. The event coincides with Armistice Day which remembers the end of Word War 1 and is a National Holiday for many of our Allies. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of an armistice between the Allies and Germany to cease any further hostilities. Many Veterans Day events go on throughout the country but the NYC Veterans Day Parade is the largest in the country. And New York knows how to throw a celebration. Before the parade kicks off, festivities are held in Madison Square Park and at 11:11 a 21 gun salute is made in honor of all those servicemen and women that made the ultimate sacrifice.  The parade kicked off with lots of anticipation as floats and marchers were eager for the celebration to get started and what a celebration it was.

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Honorary Lead Band

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World War 1 Soldiers On a Mission

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French Soldiers Ready For Action

     Some great marching bands from all over the country were invited to participate in the parade. The honorary lead band came in from Valley Forge with some snazzy uniforms. Soldiers dressed in WW1 uniforms marched up the parade route soon followed by their French counterparts. They got the crowd worked up for a great parade.   Leading the Armed Forces were the West Point Cadets with a group honoring the memory of the 77th Sustainment Brigade which drafted men mostly from New York City to fight in WW1 in France. One of the most anticipated groups followed the Army section of the parade. Floats carrying WW2 vets arrived with all revelers on the parade route stopping to applaud the remaining members of The Greatest Generation. It was great to see people bring in photos of loved ones to be a part of the event.

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World War 2 Vet Enjoying the Attention

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Grateful Revelers

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Army Band Ready to Play

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West Point Cadets Have the Best Uniforms

 

     Kicking off he many great marching bands from across the country were the Seaman High School Marching Band from Topeka, Kansas. They were pretty good. They got things warmed up for the Marine Corp and their group. They have no bands. It’s just business with the Marines. They made their way through for the Vietnam vets. They got lots of love from the crowd with many yelling out Welcome Home. A reception they did not get at the end of the Vietnam War. Another marching band from Grayslake Illinois made quite an impression. The Korean Vets group has always been inclusive of many of the Koreans that fought in the first of the Cold Wars.

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Marine Corp Always the First in Action

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Vietnam Vets Enjoying the Moment

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Golden Lions Brings It

 

     Navy made their way up the parade route with lots of fanfare and lots of love from the crowd.  Heard a few folks yell out Beat Army in anticipation of the Rivalry football game coming up later on this month. But for today, Army and Navy got along.  Another marching band from Maryville Missouri did pretty good. Even though the Gahanna Lincoln Golden Lions from Ohio kicked it up a notch better. Air Force arrived right on schedule and was well received by the crowd. One of the best bands of the day came in from Towson University in Maryland. They stole the show. The more tech savvy vets arrived with the Iraq and Afghanistan War group. As always they were loud and proud.

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Korean Vet Getting Ready

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Navy Bearing Flags

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The Smartest Vets

     Plenty of support groups were there to raise awareness of their services. Most people know of the Wounded Warrior Project and Operation Mend but service dogs were highlighted and several corporate sponsors offering employment opportunities to Veterans.   Closing out the parade were several groups of Vets bearing signs for peace not war and requests for more money for Veterans not Nukes. These are the groups that capture the spirit of the day. Peace on Armistice Day. Our military has defended our freedom from tyranny, monarchs, fascists, terrorists and is the best fighting force the world has ever scene. It is the strength of the Armed Forces that helps keep the peace all throughout the planet. And we got there is thanks to all the service men and woman that sacrificed their time and more for love of country. Thank you Vets for defending our Freedom and our beloved nation.

Written by: Albert Terc

Photos by: Albert Terc

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Carrying Old Glory With Pride and Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reveling Robots Rule the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade

2 Nov
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Terminator Robot Gets Things Started

     One of the most anticipated annual parades kicks off at 7PM each Halloween on 6th Avenue in Greenwich Village, NYC. New Yorkers are among the most creative in the country and the Halloween parade is the premiere display of that ingenuity. Not only is the parade one of the largest night parades, it is the biggest Halloween party on the planet. The hundreds of thousands of revelers that came out on a warm night sure got an eyeful of some of the craziest and scariest costumes. I met marchers that put on a costume over 25 years ago and bring their kids to the parade. That’s what’s great about this parade….all you need is a costume and you can march with the rest of the crowd. This year’s theme was I Am a Robot and there were plenty of robot themed costumes displayed.

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Robots Dancing the Night Away

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Lord of What the Hell!!

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Mistress and her Diabolic Robotic Bodyguards

     Parade director, Jeanne Fleming, always does an amazing job organizing the vast number of creatives assembling some the hundreds of puppets on display that turn 6th Avenue from the hustle and bustle of a fast city into a magical mystical wonderland for a few hours. As usual, the white angels start the parade with blessings and spreading the pixie dust for good vibes. Parade organizers march up with the hundreds of puppets and volunteers at the start of  the parade to get the crowd ready for a wild Halloween night.  Brass bands were really having a fun time with the crowd. The 3 Million Majority Marching Band had some good energy. A creative float that fit the night’s theme was the Welcome to Metropolis group. They were a lot of fun.

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Day Of the Dead  

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Triple Face Scare

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Robot on a Tinder Date

     A few perennial favorites that keep growing are the SambaNY dancers and drum band. They really got into it. And of course everyone’s favorite Michael Jackson Thriller group never disappoint with some great choreography and costumes. The Maracatu NY group always makes some good noise with their drumming. The Ghostbusters group was seen chasing some scared ghosts around. A newbie from Staten Island that really rocked out was the Vampire Rock Opera. They had a mean bass line and really got the crowd worked up.

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     Thousands of marchers in costumes help make this annual NY ritual one of the best parades in the city and a must see if you’ve never been. You will want to keep coming back for more.   Scare Ya Next Year.

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Halloween Parade Director Jeanne Fleming

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Who Pissed Off Freddie Off?

 

Hispanic Heritage Month Ends With A Grand Finale Parade on 5th Avenue

15 Oct
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Start of a Grand Parade

     A month long celebration of National Hispanic Heritage finished with one of the largest parades of its kind in the world. Each Spanish speaking country in the Western Hemisphere and Mother Country, Spain, sent representatives  to display costumes,  dance, folkloric tradition and great pride to the parade route on 5th Avenue. Revelers brought out their flags to display on the railings from 44th up to 66th streets.

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Traditional Spaniard Dancers

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Flamenco Style Dancers

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Tango Dancers Heating Things Up

     Right around noon, the mounted police signaled the start of the parade. This year, the honorary lead band was a Brooklyn-based Panamanian Bugle and Drums Corp blaring their trumpets and beating the drum while a large group behind them displayed each participating nations flag.  They handled the prestigious honor with style and set the tone for what would be an amazing day of cultural pride.

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Spanish Artist Leyton Showing His Work

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Happy Venezuelan

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Bolivians Taking Over

 

     Parade VIPs and dignitaries march up the parade route to the reviewing stands and stage for the televised portion of the parade on 64th street. There are judges present to award a particular group for best cultural representation. As usual, Spain leads the way with artists, traditional attire and music to get the crowd worked up. Participating countries proceed in alphabetical order. Argentina got things under way with a group of amazing tango dancers.

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San Simon Caporales Kicking It in High Gear

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Chilenos Handkerchief Dance

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Birds of a Feather…

 

     Each year, one of the largest groups to participate are the Bolivians. Their diverse culture has Tincus, Morenales, and the high energy San Simon Caporales in their sparkling costumes. They have hundreds of marchers with some of the most colorful costumes of the parade. They were soon followed by the cowboy clad group from Chile. Another large group with colorful costumes comes from Colombia. They had a group dressed as birds as Colombia is known as the #1 country for bird watching. A group dancing cumbia, a traditional dance, showed off their moves.

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Costa Ricans Having Fun

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Cafe Tarrazu Group Makes Some Noise

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Dominican Lechones Taking Selfies

 

     Costa Rica was a surprise hit with a snazzy marching band called Banda Municipal Cafe Tarrazu. The band came up from Costa Rica just for the event and they played very well. The Dominican Republic had some playful diablos called Lechones. I caught a pair taking a selfie. Ecuador sent their traditional dancers.  El Salvador had two marching bands from Boston to compete. The first one, Banda Sombrero Azul got things warmed up for a perennial favorite, Banda El Carbonero.  Guatemala and Honduras were well represented.

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Puerto Rico Is Rising Again

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Aztec Nation Wants to be Heard

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Folkloric Mexican Danza de Los Tecuanes

     Mexico had a nice variety of cultural representation with mariachi singers, Aztec dancers, and a group doing  La Danza de Los Tecuanes, an agricultural folkloric tradition of chasing away the jaguar.  Mixed in the large Mexican group were representatives from Nicaragua and Puerto Rico. Another group getting larger each year comes from Paraguay. One of the most impressive groups comes from Panama. The females wear the traditional polleras and the men wear the guayaberas. Panama had two bands that stole the show. The military style Instituto America from Panama City, Panama was well choreographed. They were followed by the Centro Cultural China Panamena which displayed an Asian influence.

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Stunning Panamanian Float

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Military Band From Panama

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Uruguayan Drummers Playing Candombe Music

     Peru had a smaller group than in previous years. Not sure what happened this year. Uruguay took to the streets again with their bright colored drummers playing Candombe, an African influenced dance with scantily clad dancers getting everyone worked up. Venezuela closed out the parade with colorful costumes.

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Paraguayan Marchers

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Happy Panamanians

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Venezuelans Marching with Pride

 

     No other parade in the city other than the Dance parade brings as many various cultures together. Hispanics share the same language but have a wide variety of traditions, cultural influences and their own story to tell. In this one parade, it’s all on display for the city and all Hispanics to be proud of.

 

 

 

Que Viva La Hispanidad…..

 

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