Panamanians plan virtual Red, White & Blue Octoberfest

Vinette K. Pryce (left) and Maria McKenzie during Panama Day celebrations in 2019.
Vinette K. Pryce

The usual multi-national Caribbean weekend revelry in Brooklyn marking Labor Day joins the list of other patriotic and fraternal exhibitions forced to postpone appearances along the boroughs’ boulevards in 2020.

And while numerous groups have resorted to cancelling this year’s parades and pageantry some have applied creative methods to celebrate pride and heritage in culture.

Organizers of the annual Day of Independence Committee Panama of New York (DICPNY) recently announced plans for an alternative outreach.

While the celebration lauds the independence separation from Colombia, this year’s unprecedented two-hour livestream on Oct. 3 will also mark the 25th anniversary of the staging of the spectacle.

“We regret to announce that the Panamanian Parade for 2020 in Brooklyn, has been officially cancelled, their press release noted.

The decision follows the city’s ordinance to limit public gatherings, practice social distancing in order to minimize the chance of an upsurge in the spread of the coronavirus and respect the mandatory plea to wear face coverings.

“We want to ensure that the aftermath of this pandemic is totally under control before we come together in large crowds. The safety and good health of our community are important concerns.”
Despite the impediments, organizers are not going to allow their silver anniversary celebration to go unheralded.

As a matter of fact, they promise ‘the same Panamanian salsa’ reliably delivered every year — regardless of rain or shine weather predictions.

A two-hour livestream event is slated to begin at 6 pm via Facebook and YouTube along the worldwide web.

“The necessity to change our way of life will ensure that we see each other again.”

Nationals of Panama celebrating their country’s independence during a parade in 2019 in Brooklyn.

“We understand that this way of living, which includes social distancing, goes against the very fabric of our making as social beings. However, we must remain vigilant in adhering to the necessary precautions that prevent the spread of the coronavirus such that we can see each other in-person again soon.”

The small sacrifice certainly does not compensate for sampling the tasty ceviche platters or the crispy tostones paraders usually line up to purchase.

Neither will the absence of compadres dressed in flouncy polleras, embroidered molas, traditional guayabera shirts and straw hats satiate nostalgia of life on the isthmus.

But plenty of eye candy will provide sensibilities via the virtual presentation planned.

Special guest artist Rossi Lopez along with special guests Judy Meana, Kayra Harding, and Osvaldo Ayala are the distinguished participants.

Grand Marshalls include Maxwell Campbell, Carmelita Smith, from Jamaica and DJ Rigo. While honoree DJ Norie aka Da Reggae Don is expected to deliver musical tribute to the largest Panamanian parade in the USA.

Individuals and organizations interested in participating in the Livestream parade are urged to upload and submit a video by Aug. 3.

For further details go to

Due to the limited two-hour time-frame allotted, early applicants will be granted priority.

“Rest assured that the celebration of the diverse and vibrant cultural history of Panamanians will still occur.”

“We recognize that these are unique and unprecedented times in the world, the country, and our communities.”

Needless to say, the DICPNY organizers punctuated their message by extending condolences to families aggrieved by the ravages from COVID-19.

“We extend our sincere condolences to those who have lost family and friends to the coronavirus. We know that the void left by the sudden passing of a family member, friend, or co-worker cannot be filled. Nevertheless, we hope that you find comfort in the memories you and your loved one made together.”

They also acknowledged the many nurses, doctors, store keepers and MTA workers who provided sustaining services during the peak periods of the pandemic.

“We want to praise and encourage our essential workers who continue to provide much needed services to our communities during the pandemic. They are our heroes and sheroes.”

For more information contact [email protected]

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