The mother of all Caribbean festivals in the United States, the 43rd annual West Indian Carnival Festival 2010 kicked off earlier this week with a successful press reception in Manhattan that was attended by scores of media and VIP guests who gathered to hear important details of this year’s celebration. The Brooklyn-anchored historic event, often described as the largest parade and festival in the United States attracts over 3.5 million participants annually, effectively pulling more people than the entire population of the island of Jamaica.
The Carnival celebration begins with a benefit concert for Haiti behind the Brooklyn Museum. This concert will be headlined by Grammy winning hip hop artiste Wyclef Jean and will also feature David Rudder, Kevin Lyttle, Serani, Carimi, Bruck Up, Pupa Leendi, Bud Ramsey, Kevon Carter and many more artists from across the Caribbean. Proceeds from this event will be given to the Jean’s Yele’ Foundation, in support of their relief efforts during the aftermath of Haiti’s earthquake.
The remainder of the weekend is jam-packed with six events culminating in the Brooklyn Labor Day Parade on Eastern Parkway. Other carnival events include the Junior (Kiddies) Carnival Parade on Friday September 3, and the Brass Festival featuring Machel Montano, Patrice Roberts, Farmer Nappy, Destra, Krosfyah, Denise Belfon, Lyrikal, Lady Saw and Talpree. Saturday, September 4 will host the Steel Band Panorama Competition. Sunday September 5 is Dimanche Gras, at which carnival king and queen will be crowned.
“We are delighted to have Wyclef Jean, David Rudder, Kevin Lyttle and other A- list Caribbean acts at our special star studded benefit concert for Haiti this year. There is no word to describe the disaster caused earlier this year to a country already so impoverished. The Haitian people need our continued support and we will do our best to bring awareness to their plight and to help them in this time of need” said Yolanda Lezama-Clark, President of WIADCA, INC.
The Brooklyn festival – which will use as it’s theme this year ‘Bridging Cultures’ – reaches a colorful and explosive crescendo on Monday September 6 with the Eastern Parkway Labor Day Parade showcasing an unending train of costumed bands, masquerades, jumbies, floats and dance groups. Both sides of Eastern Parkway are typically jam-packed with wall to wall revelers savoring nostalgic Caribbean foods from unending ribbons of vendors whose collective aromatic herbs and spices provide fragrance for the many miles of the parade route. Organizers also announced that this year’s Grand Marshals include Danny Glover and Wyclef Jean’s charity Yele Haiti.
With millions expected to attend the West Indian Carnival, the event has historically brought out the A list of Caribbean companies to the forefront. This year’s title sponsor is Moet Hennessy USA, producers of premium liquor brands. Moet Hennessy does have a connection to the Caribbean as their relatively new rum brand, Ten Cane, is manufactured in Trinidad & Tobago.
The West Indian Carnival Festival is produced and presented by The West Indian American Day Carnival Association, Inc (WIADCA). The parade and related events have grown over the years from attracting thousands to millions and the surge in tourists visiting the city for the event has been a tremendous economic benefit to both large corporations and small businesses.