Both parades follow the same route: beginning in West New York on 59th Street and Bergenline Avenue, traveling through Union City and then into North Bergen's Schuetzen Park on 32nd Street and Kennedy Boulevard. Both parades are also held to celebrate Restoration Day, which honors the Dominican Republic's independence from Spain in the late 1890s.
This year, hundreds of people lined the streets on August 6 to watch the four-float procession travel down the avenue, including the two city blocks of people following the floats as they made their way to Schuetzen Park. These same people will probably come out on August 27 to watch the expected 11 floats follow that same path.
So what is the difference? The parade that takes place on August 27 is the first given by a group called The Dominican Parade of Bergenline Avenue.
After having two parades for the first and only time in 1997, the Dominican community signed an agreement stating that there would be only one parade each year and that an election would be held to decide on a president of the Dominican Parade of Hudson County organization in 2000.
However, this year, the agreement was forgotten and another parade group, The Dominican Parade of Bergenline Avenue, was formed. Francois Nunez, the president of the Dominican Parade of Bergenline Avenue, said that Freddie Gomez, the president of The Dominican Parade of Hudson County, decided to back out of the agreement in December of 1999 after a meeting discussing how the election would be held; either as a ticket such as a board of commissioners or as individuals.
Gomez argued that he backed out because Nunez did not wait until the election to declare himself president.
In the letter signed by the Police Chief Norman Bareis on December 13, 1999 giving Nunez permission to hold his parade, Nunez was already recognized as president of the Dominican Parade of Bergenline Avenue, an organization that Nunez said he started after the election took place April 2000.
"I filed the permit application then because Gomez backed out of the agreement," said Nunez, who works in the Immigration Services department in Union City.
However, Gomez said that he didn't break the agreement until after the permission was granted.
"We don't need two parades in one community," said Gomez, who also writes for the Spanish newspaper "La Noticea" and has a political talk show "Dia Adia Ean en New Jersey" on channel 71, about the parade on August 27.
Gomez added that he filed his request for a parade permit in October, two months before Nunez.
What's in a name?
However, Gomez says that his biggest concern is that Nunez used his name to get sponsors and advertising space.
"I don't care if he wants to have a parade in September or October," said Gomez. "But he is using my name and that is not good."
The request sent in by Nunez used the name Dominican Parade of Bergenline Avenue.
"I have secured my name through the sate and have never used the name Dominican Parade of Hudson County," said Nunez. "I don't even have any advertising on the streets," he added, answering allegations that he used the Hudson County name in advertisements.