CARNIVAL REBIRTH

New York Children Carnival participant.
WIADCA/Corazon/File

Stating that New York City is experiencing a “rebirth like no other,” after a year of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, the Brooklyn-based West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) on Tuesday announced the launch of “The Rebirth of New York Carnival 2021.”

The organization, the host of arguably the largest carnival parade in North America, said in a statement that it did not let the city-wide lockdown in 2020 and early 2021 stop it from celebrating Caribbean culture.

“We were flexible with our programming this past year and focused more on helping our community through our WIADCA Cares programs,” said Michelle Gibbs-Francis, WIADCA chairperson. “As we transition through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing a rebirth of NYC and our organizational purposes reflected in our week-long events for Carnival 2021.”

She said New York’s Caribbean Carnival is “a culmination of culture, food, artistry, music, costumes and energy that comes from the hearts and souls of the community.”

Gibbs-Francis said WIADCA will host various events throughout Brooklyn, in-person and virtually, including NY Carnival Welcome Back, Youth Fest, Steel Pan Jamboree and other celebrations “that will be co-sponsored with friends of the organization.”

Kay Mason – Carnival Queen. WIADCA/Corazon/File

She said all events will either be in-person or virtually, stating that “the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 this past year have led us to postpone our annual historical Labor Day Parade.

“We plan on hosting the parade in person in September 2022, and we encourage you all to continue to practice social distancing and stay safe,” Gibbs-Francis said.

The list of signature events offered in partnership with the Brooklyn Museum for the New York Carnival season include: Voice in Concert, Thursday, Sept. 2, 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm; and Welcome Back! Friday, Sept. 3, 7:00 pm, a cultural/musical experience that incorporates musicians and artists from the entire Diaspora.

“During this event, we bring various genres of music to Brooklyn,” said WIADCA, stating that artists and DJs will be announced on “a rolling basis.”

Other signature events comprise Virtual International Youth Fest, Saturday, Sept. 4, 11:00 am.

“This year, to ensure our youth are safe, we will be hosting our Youth Fest virtually – an end of summer Caribbean Talent showcase promoting performing arts and cultural diversity, where all performances are welcome,” WIADCA said.

Mokko Jumbie (Stilt) dancer on Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York. WIADCA/Corazon/File

It said a Steel Pan Jamboree takes place on Saturday, Sept. 4, 7:00 pm.

WIADCA said this “culturally-enriching showcase is complete with live performances from steel bands, pan soloists, doubles, quartets and more.

“The audience will witness an immersive steel band experience, with performances surrounding them on the lawn of the Brooklyn Museum,” it said. “The audience will get the chance to select a winner.”

On Labor Day Monday, Sept. 6, 11:00 am, WIADCA said it will feature Carnival “Jus’ Like Mas.”

“This year, we are doing it ‘Jus’ Like Mas’’ with the ultimate Labor Day Monday experience,” it said. “The road experience is coming to the Brooklyn Museum with premium drinks and lots of beautiful mas wear.

“All participants and guests are invited to come costume-ready with their Monday wear,” WIADCA urged. “Included in the ticket are drinks, music trucks, Djs and live performances from the greatest Caribbean artists.”

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