The brilliant sunshine and 80-degree temperature were the perfect welcome, to the First Annual Caribbean Day Parade, that left a trail of colorful masqueraders along the streets of Brentwood in Suffolk County, Long Island, where splendor, color and great artistry were the order of the day.
The small float parade with roughly 1,000 revelers – organized by the committee of the (SCCCA) Suffolk County Cultural Associations, and led by Grand Marshall, Astrid Fidelia, Islip Town Council Candidate – took to the streets at noon on Saturday, Sept. 7 winding its way along Crooked Hill Road for a two-mile stretch for crowd enjoyment.
Spectators looked on in awe as the Caribbean showcase took center stage with three of carnival’s hottest mas bands. Ramajay Mas Productions, Natural Freaks Mas, and Detailz Mas Producion, all still revved up from their recent revelry on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, later piloted the scantly clad masqueraders into Suffolk County Community College grounds where young calypsonians, Yankee Boy, Rayzor, Leonce, Baba Shanta, Lava Rebel, Patch, and Hyper Sounds entertained the crowd for hours.
New York’s top steel bands and rhythm sections blared notes as Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana, Grenada, Haiti, Barbados and many other nationals waved their flags and massed, as DJ ”Wassy” electrified the show.
During an interview on the college grounds, President of SCCA, Anthony Ahyoung told Caribbean Life that since the non-profit that is dedicated to promoting artistic displays in music and art through Caribbean culture – was formed in 2003, it hosted its first festival last year.
However Ahyoung recalls the torrential downpour and high winds that sidelined the celebration and added, “We are blessed with good weather this year”
The organizer plans to iron out a few kinks before future events, and noted that the launch of this parade was a total success. He is also confident that the Caribbean culture would remain a prominent part of Suffolk County, that has a large population of nationals, even though he added, the expats are scattered throughout the district.
The Trinidadian-American was disappointed that the parade did not attract funding, but vows to work harder to ensure the parade comes back bigger and better next year, and named mega beverage companies, Coco Cola and Heineken as two of the sponsors he plans go after. He also wants to extend the parade route so that the masqueraders could enjoy themselves, and spectators could have a better view of the Caribbean culture.
Ahyoung praised the Suffolk County Police Department for treating the parade with respect. “We want to say how much we appreciated the work they did. They didn’t overrun the parade with police presence; they did what they were supposed to do. And for that, the parade was beautiful,” added the head of SCCCA.