Caribbean Parade 2010

Yesterday was the 18th annual Caribbean Parade here in DC.   

The first parade featured 9 bands and approximately 150,000 spectators ..  now there are 25 bands and, according to Washington Metro Police, over 300,000 spectators!   To date all the participating groups in the parade and two day festival have been local to our area though spectators come from all around: 

By the time they get to our street they've already walked or danced nearly 5 miles.  Officially it was 95 degrees yesterday though my outdoor thermometer (about 5 miles away from the "official" thermometer) said it was 100.  According to the Washington Post today 31 parade participants were carted off to hospital with "heat related illnesses" over the course of the 6 mile long parade.   The parade lasts 4 or 5 hours but I could only stand the heat for 2 hours so I missed a lot of participants this year.

I bet that given the heat,  some of the participants wished they'd left some feathers home this year:


This girl is whiter than me!  I had SPF 50 sunscreen on me – I hope she did too!  I wish I'd had an umbrella but between the camera and a large bottle of water I would not have been able to hold one.  (Where is the manservant when I need him? – Australia!): 


This place was doing a brisk trade while people waited for the parade to appear:

The liquor store was closed!  They must've thought they would "lose" more than they would sell…

It was too early for The House to be open but there was plenty of flesh out on the street – Happy Hour – isn't every hour at a strip club a happy hour: 


The Mayor of Washington DC -  Adrian Fenty (bald guy) – it's an election year so he was trying to shake as many hands as possible – this slowed the parade down considerably: 

This person must have been hot!  

I hope this young pregnant lady was not one of those overcome by heat: 

Everything was wonderfully bright and noisy: 

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47 responses

  1. What incredible pictures! Thanks for sharing.Yesterday we had the gay pride parade in town. Unfortunately I was at work. But it seems like this years was great success (in recent years it was barely mentioned)

  2. Wow, that is one of the most wonderful parades I have ever seen pictures of. How fantastic! I love the feathers and the exotic costumes! You are right, the heat would make it very difficult. This is one parade that would be worth seeing. You got fabulous pictures!! What a great post!

  3. This looks a lot like the Virgin Islands Carnival parades. So much color and fun costumes. I always thought people who dressed up in this kind of heat were downright brave. I guess it's part of the passion for the event. Wow! Terrific photos, Emjay. I loved this.

  4. one question………….where the heck did everyone peeee after walking 5 miles and I'm sure drinking lots of refreshments to stave off the heat?? LOL
    Terrific pictures Emjay! I could swap pictures of my little towns (360 people) Memorial Day Parade…..there were 6 firetrucks, 4 horses, 6 riding lawn mowers all decorated, 4 old cars and 2 groups of little girls twirling teams. LOL And not a feather in sight.

  5. Thank you IoHH. Our Gay Day parade was a couple of weeks ago – I think the one when I was sick with a flu/cold bug. I see that ours is also getting bigger and more colourful each year – a few years ago it got 10 seconds mention at the very end of the local news (the same time as they were scrolling credits on the screen) Now it gets its own 30 second slot near the top of the local news.

  6. I was so hot when I got home that I think alcohol would've been a very bad idea. I had 3 huge glasses of water-cranberry mix with ice. ….. then I had alcohol LOL.

  7. Thank you LOM. It is wonderful to see so many women really proud of the bodies they have and not afraid to show them off. The custom really does go well with the pregnant tum.

  8. LOL – I don't know why politicians feel that a crowd watching a fun festival wants to see them. There was also the mayor's opponent and a few of the council ward members – they didn't add much to the atmosphere 🙂

  9. I think a few of the "wingy" costumes might have had the same fly-away problem if a gust had come up. Those of us standing in the hot sun might've welcomed such a gust though….. for a number of reasons. 🙂

  10. There was a wonderful atmosphere throughout the crowd and the participants. I took the train to the station at the end of the parade and then walked home (about 1.5 miles) – it was just one big carnival along that route. Best of all there were no reports of violence during the parade and festival – pretty amazing considering how many people were there.

  11. Thank you so much FS. I think it is probably the most colourful parade here in DC and it's certainly the noisiest with all the Caribbean music and sounds.

  12. Thank you Katie. It was a long way for them to have to go – and most of them "performed" the whole way too as the entire route was lined with people expecting it.

  13. Thank you LBeeeze. I can't imagine how hot they must have felt – especially those in the body covering type costumes. The end of the parade was at a park where the festival continued until Sunday evening – lots of lovely shady trees there – of course they had to walk 6 miles to get to that shade!

  14. LOL – you ask a very good question and one I've not given any thought to until now as I live so close I could just go home if I had to "go". There were port-a-loos set up in the park where the parade finished; perhaps there were also some at the start. Along the route there is a pizza hut, a McDonalds and a Wendy's – perhaps they were queuing up there. The other businesses would not be keen on people asking for a toilet I don't think. LOL – I love the idea of your town parade – it sounds wonderfully quaint – something similar to what we might have had in the town I grew up in – if we'd had any parades! 🙂

  15. I love the fact that the women in these photos aren't skinny little size 0 women but solid, healthy ladies with curves and they're proud of it, happy to show off their bodies and wear bright, sparkly costumes. If I can ever reach that level of acceptance of what I've got I'll be happy.

  16. I think that is one of the best things about this parade – the proud women. I have one photo that has a skinny girl in it and she looked so out of place it was weird. I decided not to post it because I wondered if she was sick.

  17. Wonderful photos, the feathers, the colors, the people all look great. Pride is self is so evident on all the faces. How great thank you for sharing.To Jamie's comment: Simply in 2 words: Body Confidence!

  18. You would've loved the music (maybe not the volume). The parade was the prelude to a 2 day festival – bands performed during those days – I'm told they were very good. It cost $10 a day to get into the festival section but I'm pretty sure you could hear the music outside the park!

  19. Thank you GOM! 🙂 There doesn't seem to be any way of alerting a poster of this except other posters. You are right – I never see this page because I don't share my laptop and have to log in/out.

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