Considered the local parade with the longest route, the 19th Annual West Indian Caribbean American Carnival & Parade kicked off from Lincoln Park on July 26 and weaved its way through the streets for a grand finale near City Hall, with an after-parade festival at Exchange Place.
Hosted by the Jersey City Caribbean Carnival Association, the parade and festival are held on the last Saturday in July each year, and inspired by the carnival that is world famous in South America during February, the summer season there.
The parade departed from Lincoln Park at noon, travelled down Kennedy Boulevard to Montgomery Street and concluded at City Hall on Grove Street just after 1 p.m. The parade had in excess of 400 marchers that included most of the members of the City Council, with the festival afterward taking place J. Owen Grundy Park on the Exchange Place waterfront.
Trinidadian musical performances helped provide entertainment, while there were other festivities for adults and children, including cuisine provided by a number of food vendors.
“We honor all traditions here in Jersey City.” – Councilman Daniel Rivera
Councilwoman Joyce Watterman wore a stunning red outfit that fit in with the vibrant colors of the parade’s participants.
Change of rules forces Caribbean festival to close early
An ordinance change voted on by the council earlier this year brought about some confusion and anger when police shut down the West Indian and Caribbean festival an hour early on Saturday. While this was the 19th year the festival has taken place on the waterfront near Exchange Place, the council changed the rule for when music and waterfront events had to end, trying to accommodate residents who live in the area. Although the permit was until 8 p.m. the ordinance requires music to stop an hour before the permitted ending time.
Parade officials were also concerned about a competing festival held in front of City Hall and its impact on sales at the Exchange Place festival. The city office of Cultural Affairs had arranged for another food fair to operate on Grove Street, part of an effort to increase activities for the residents of the area. Parade officials argued that since the parade ended at that location, many patrons would stop at City Hall rather than go onto the Exchange Place festival where other vendors would be set up.
Prior to the parade, however, City Council members arranged for the Caribbean Festival to get first priority as far as location. A stage truck was set up dividing the city festival from the parade area, and speakers from the Caribbean Parade went on with their traditional post parade agenda.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.