West Indian Day Parade Grand Marshal Harry Belafonte leads peaceful show of pride, unity

A cloudy ‘Day-O’ couldn’t dampen the mood of the 45th annual Labor Day celebration along Eastern Parkway, complete with music, food and fun, as Jennifer H. Cunningham reports for New York’s Daily News.

It was a great Day-O as millions joined grand marshal Harry Belafonte for the West Indian Day parade, celebrating Caribbean culture in Technicolor glory.
“I’m very excited to be here,” the 85-year-old King of Calypso said of the 45th annual Labor Day spectacle along Eastern Parkway.
Angela Baxter, 46, a city employee from East New York, declared the parade “absolutely wonderful.”

“I love the clothes, the vibe. The theme this year is unity. So far, that’s been the case. It’s a beautiful day. Not too hot. So I’m giving thanks for that.”

The rain held off and there was no strife until the parade itself was over: two men were stabbed and two people were shot in separate incidents near the parade route.

READ MORE: 2 DEAD IN VIOLENCE NEAR PARADE ROUTE AFTER FESTIVITIES ENDED

The Brooklyn-style carnival brought out politicians like Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Cuomo who marched alongside dancers who glittered like treasure chests in outfits that called to mind tropical birds.

Shelby Spencer 41, a finance worker from East Flatbush, soaked it all in for the first time.

“The music is electrifying. The passion of the people is priceless,” she said.

Trinidadians had extra reason to celebrate — their homeland celebrated its 50th year of independence over the weekend.
Kerdisha Wilson 22, painted her face silver and wore a plumed orange headdress to dance on the Ramajay float.
“It’s part of my culture,” she said. “I’m just here to have a good time, and enjoy the music and festivities.”

Crown Heights resident Valerie Jones, 38, an investigator for a nonprofit during the work week, said it took her two hours to transform into a “ruby” for her float.

She wore a red corset and matching bottoms, a scarlet headdress and red-and-white makeup.
“We are going to jump up and dance, celebrate,” she said.
The parade is one of the city’s biggest events, drawing up to 3 million people.
Evelyn Davis, a social worker, came in from Atlanta — as she’s been doing for four decades.
“I’ve been watching it for 43 years. The costumes — it’s exciting, it’s beautiful.”

For the original report go to http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/thousands-lined-brooklyn-west-indian-day-parade-article-1.1150439#ixzz25XDPRpbg

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