Tag Archives: panamanian parade

Pretty Polleras and Bugles Blast on Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn

14 Oct

Panama Prep School Band Taking Charge

     Neighborhood parades can be a great way to get a sense of that area. Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn is home to a very large Panamanian population. The parade boasts of being the largest Panamanian Independence Day in North America. People travel from Maryland, Texas, Florida and of course from Panama to be part of the spectacular event.  Around noon time on Saturday, a group of motorcycles riders, displaying the Panamanian flag, let everyone know the parade was soon to start.  Parade VIPs and organizers made their way up the parade route on Franklin Ave. and turned on Carroll St. where a stage was set up to review the many marching bands that came up from Panama. Prizes were awarded at the end of the parade for the best band.


Pollera, traditional dress of Panama


Marching Band Leads the Way


Colegio San Martin de Porres

     These same bands participated in the Hispanic Day Parade on 5th Avenue the following day. Beauty queens waved to the adoring crowd. They were followed by some fun folkloric dancing and women dressed in traditional polleras. It’s great to see the tradition passed on from one generation to another. The best part of the parade is when the marching bands from Panama come up the parade route. They have the best uniforms for marching bands this year. First up were the musical band Instituto Fermin Naudeau with their military uniforms. They got the crowd worked up for the next band in line, the Panama Prep School Band. This band ended up winning first prize at the event for best band. A perennial favorite is the Colegio San Martin de Porres musical band.


Beauty Queen Miss New York


 Drum and Bugle Corp. International Bands


Getting Ready for the Grand Finale

    Not too far behind were the Guillermo Endara Galimany musical band. They were having some fun with the crowd. The last of Panamanian student group was the Musical Band Mons. Audilio Aguilar. Local bands close out the festive parade with the First Panamanian Drums and Bugle Corp making some noise. Saving the best for last, the United Panamanian Veterans Marching Band always closes the parade out with a bang. Once they pass by the reviewing stand, everyone heads over to the festival where a stage is set up for more entertainment and food kiosks with some delicious Panamanian food. This is one of the best neighborhood parades in the city.


IMG_6153 Que Viva Panama!!!



Panamanians Proud of Their Bands and Polleras

7 Oct

Marching Band From Panama

     The first Saturday of October is one of the busiest parade days in the city with several going on at the same time. On Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn, the largest Independence Day celebration outside of Panama was getting under way with hundreds of thousands coming out to cheer on their countrymen and friends. It’s a fun neighborhood parade that showcases school bands from different parts of Panama, fancy traditional costumes and bugle and drum bands blaring marching tunes.


Traditional Pollera on Display


Band of Instituto Rubiano


Fancy Polleras

     For many of the bands coming up, it’s their first time in the US. One band that showed off their moves was the Colegio Bilingue de Cerro Viento. They were really good. Right behind them was a group with military style uniforms. The Instituto Rubiano Marching Band got the crowd worked up for a day of fun and cultural pride. Rounding out the student marching bands from Panama was the Colegio San Martin de Porres Marching Band. They were impressive.


A Real Conga Line


Diablo Ready for some Mischief


First Panamanian Veterans Band Having Fun

    A perennial favorite that keeps growing are the Campesinos Originales. They brought out 3 different lines of conga drummers that really got the crowd worked up. Bugle and Drum bands are the crowd favorites. A repeat band came from Atlanta. They were real good. The First Panamanian Veterans Marching Band played their hearts out. A local band that teaches youth the style and techniques is the Drums and Bugle International Band Association. The host band always saves their best for last. The First International Band of Brooklyn always puts on a great show for everyone.


Focused Drummer


A Family Affair


Twirlers Getting Ready

     All the marching bands turn off Franklin Avenue at President St. where the parade VIPs are set up with a stage to review all the different bands. Then after the parade ends the festival on Classon Ave. gets into high gear with plenty of food vendors available to try some delicious Panamanian food. There’s also a stage set up for more music and entertainment. Even though the festival is really nice I’d rather stick with my favorite spot… Kelso’s on Franklin Ave.   A must have for some of the best Panamanian food in Brooklyn. Que Viva Panama.

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Hasta La Proxima…Until the next time

Panamanians Proud of Their Polleras and Bands

11 Oct

Beautiful Pollera

     The largest Independence Day celebration outside of Panama is held every year for the past 22 years on Franklin Ave. in Crown Heights in Brooklyn USA. Each year the marchers and revelers keep growing in size with bands coming in from Maryland, Georgia and from Panama and of course hometown Brooklyn. There are folkloric dancers and women dressed in their traditional polleras with men in guayabera shirts. It is quite spectacular to see how ornate the women dress and follow their tradition. The warm weather had the streets of Franklin Ave. lined up with revelers waiting for things to kick off and once the Elite Riders Motorcycle Club appeared the crowd got revved up.


Hon. Shawndya Luisa Simpson and Jose Francis


A grand festival like no other


Georgia’s In the House

     This years Grand Marshalls were presented in pre-parade ceremonies. The Honorable Shawndya Luisa Simpson, current Assistant Attorney General for NY State, and Jose Francis,  Host of Rinconcito Panameno en Nueva York, a popular TV show in the Panamanian community. Once parade VIPs and dignitaries make their way down the parade route, they settle in at the reviewing stand on President Ave. where many bands display their talents.  The lead band came all the way from Colon in Panama and they did not disappoint. A group that was having a lot of fun were the Campesinos Internacional   banging on the congas and having a spirited dance. They were soon followed by a group of folkloric dancers with ladies in their fancy polleras and probably one of the best floats of the parade.


Lovely Beauty Queen


The Band Striking It Up


Proud Display of Flags

     One of the best things about this parade is the bands come from all over to play their drums and bugles. It is a unique experience for the many of these marchers since it’s their first time in NYC. Kicking off the proud display of talent was the Jose Santos Foca Banda de Musica soon followed by Monsenor Francisco Beckman Marching Band. They can play with any band from the US. A perennial favorite is the Instituto Jose Dolores Moscote Marching Band. They keep getting better each year. The King of Kings Marching Band and  Banda Evangelica El Elion made their presence known to the very happy and proud crowd. The band that had the best uniform had to go the Panamanian Band from Atlanta. Their red white and blue uniforms got the crowd buzzing. Saving some of the best for last was a newer group, ARCIA, that showed off their precision. Great job. Of course, the host band, the 1st International Panamanian Marching Band of Brooklyn showed why their one of the best. This really was an an amazing parade to witness and one the most festive neighborhood parades this year.  After the parade was over, there was more festivities and food available on Classon Ave. where the party kept on going.

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Que Viva Panama

Panamanians Make Some Noise in Brooklyn

13 Oct
Bugle Section Blaring Away

Bugle Section Blaring Away

On a sun filled Saturday in early October, the streets of Franklin Ave. in Brooklyn were converged on by thousands of Panamanians to celebrate their independence from Colombia and to display their culture, heritage, and some delicious food at the after party street fair on Classon Ave. Many ladies, young and old, wore their traditional polleras, a long decorative dress used in formal occasions while the men wore their straw hats and guayabera shirts. Panamanians love their marching bands and with good reason as they are one of the best in the city. This year the crowd was treated to a swinging folkloric band that improvised a song when an NYFD truck blared its horn. The lyrics changed quickly to someone called the firemen to bring the water because the parade is on fire. The crowd just ate it up.

Traditional Pollera

Traditional Pollera

Band Member from Panama

Band Member from Panama

Band from Maryland

Band from Maryland

The crowd was treated to some very special visitors from Panama. Each year a different town in Panama is asked to send their representatives and their marching bands to perform at the parade. This year an impressive group from Santiago de Veraguas made an appearance. High school students from San Vincente de Paul in their sharp looking uniforms set the tone for a day filled with lively bands and a celebration of Panamanian culture. One of the best High School bands to perform from Panama was from Las Tablas when the marching band from Manuel Maria Tejada Roca tore it up with their well choreographed dancers and impressive white clad musicians. They can compete against anybody. There were local community groups and businesses owned by Panamanians represented in the parade.  One of note was the famous Kelso restaurant float that was handing out samples of their delicious seasoning to spice up your next meat dish. As always, closing out the parade was the host marching band in their snazzy all white uniforms. The 1st Panamanian Drum and Bugle Marching Band played their hearts out to the crowd. They held nothing back as they marched down the parade route to the reviewing stand and onto Classon Ave. where the fun and celebration kept going until sunset. Now that’s how to have a party. Que Viva Panama.

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Que Viva Panama

Que Viva Panama

Panamanians Bring Out Their Best Dress

15 Oct
Panamanians Enjoying the Parade

Panamanians Enjoying the Parade

    Neighborhood parades can be lots of fun. Aside from the delicious food you can find in the area, the people are casual and bring their folding chairs and just sit and enjoy the sights. This was the case on Franklin Ave. in Brooklyn on Saturday Oct. 12th where the Panamanians celebrated their independence for the 20th year in spectacular fashion. Many ladies brought out their traditional colorful polleras wearing it in style. It’s always great to see the tradition passed on to the younger generation where many teens and toddlers also wore traditional dress. Panamanians love their bands. One of first bands came from Maryland and the crowd stepped out of their way. They got the crowd worked up for the rest of the incredible bands from both Panama and Brooklyn. Local organizations were represented well in their dance and traditional costumes. One of the Panamanian bands that usually participate in the parade were the Banda Internacional  El Hogar and they got the crowd excited with their fast drum line and loud horn section.  But they were just getting things warmed up for the First Panamanian Drum and Bugle Corp from Brooklyn wearing their red uniforms. The winner of the beauty contest came next and she was quite stunning and dressed in a beautiful pollera. An interesting combination happened next when a Christian Panamanian marching band singing praises to the Lord was soon followed by a mischievous group of dancers and men dressed in diablo costumes..hmmmm. One tried to be louder than the other.  It was a tie. Closing out the parade was a float with beauty queens in spectacular attire. After the parade ended, most folks headed over to Classon Ave. where kiosks with food vendors sold some delicious meals and a stage was set up to keep the party going for the rest of the day. Que Viva Panama.

Banda El Hogar

Banda El Hogar

Two girls in polleras

Two girls in polleras

Panamanian Band from Brooklyn

Panamanian Band from Brooklyn

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Que Viva Panama

Que Viva Panama

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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