42 Comment

  • I never realized Pandora was in the Caribbean.

  • thanks caribbean festival goers for the many new broken bottles and piles of trash!

  • Nice photos!

  • This thing was a mess. I would have minded so much if I had known it was going to happen, but coming back to Georgia Ave at 2:00PM on Saturday to find the street I live in is blocked off is not fun.

  • Yeah, the amount of litter left behind was ridiculous. Also, maybe I caught bad portions of the parade, but the parts I saw were just random people walking aside big trucks with huge speaker systems – I didn’t really understand the draw. Nothing pretty like in the above photos!

  • 10% of the parade is what appears (to me) to be authentic Caribbean costumes and cool steel drum bands, etc.

    The remaining 90% are morons smoking MJ in the crowd, swigging alcohol from a passed-around bottle and dry humping (or more) on the sidewalk.

    I agree with the comment about flat bed trucks with speakers – is all that really needed?

    • I was driving behind one of these trucks Saturday morning around 10am, before the parade kicked off. It was an impressive set-up, but I didn’t understand why it was cranked at full volume just to drive to the festival, as it was winding through a lot of residential streets to get to wherever it was headed, and it was still early. (I can’t complain too much, though, since I had forgotten about the upcoming traffic snarl I was approaching and the truck reminded me to swing well east.)

  • I didn’t see the parade, but I definitely didn’t appreciate the lack of parking around my house due to all the parade-goers who apparently can’t take Metro, the vastly increased number of people walking around the neighborhood smoking joints right out in the open, and the trash.

  • It’s fascinating that an event that is attended by mostly the people of color in this community draws so many petty negative comments.

    • I don’t think it’s about color. I grew up in NYC and plenty of people complained (and still do) about the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, which some people perceive as an excuse to get stupid drunk and act like an idiot in public. Not a lot of Irish people of color.
      There are always some bad apples in a bunch.
      The parade happens every year. It’s to be expected that there will be big crowds, hellish parking, litter, etc. Not an excuse, just an explanation.

      • yeah, I went once and NEVER AGAIN because it was filled with scumbags, but I don’t go to Irish parades either for the same reason.

        I don’t know what to say on the race issue, some people think every time something non-white is criticized it’s for racial reasons. Same thing happens when people criticize Israel I guess.

        I’m sure we’re doomed for someone to say that people of color are allowed to litter at will without criticism.

    • I agree completely.

    • When you say “it’s facinating”… do you mean, “here’s a subject I can project my personal gripes on without any knowledge of the actual situation?”

      For proof that PoP readers don’t appreciate trash and public drunkenness, check out the World Cup in Dupont Circle post from a couple weeks ago. Are you going to make that about race, too?

      And of course, MA’s excellent point about St Patrick’s day.

  • Every year the comments are the same some good / bad all accurate from what I observe. The first half of parade is great there are families, very little drinking everybody is friendly limited crowds, and limited trash. There were actually people trailing the parade with rakes who were able to get up all the trash, at least on GA Ave. I saw little trash on side streets like Madison, Kennedy etc. The second half is crowded, younger, more drinking, more trash and more random people with less interest in the cultural part of the parade. The folks in the parade are tired the heat was brutal Saturday.

    Re: parking a lot people drive from out of town for the event. l saw lots of Jersey, PA and NY tags. It would be nice if they took the Metro but probably unrealistic. I did see a lot of people catching the Metro at Fort Totten for the parade. I saw the whole parade, It was loud some good costumes, some great, some funny, kids on stilts were cool – too many politicians. I think the Caribbean parade now embraces the whole African Diaspora and African countries too

  • I can’t believe how negative some of these comments are. I mean really, get it over it. It’s one day a year. Why don’t you try embracing a huge cultural event in your neighborhood instead of crying about it? Sure the parking is rough and some trash gets left behind. Are you still trying to find a parking space now? Next year, try going out and enjoying the parade because it really is something special.

  • The event took place in a predominately residential neighborhood with little or no warning to the residents. I am a resident and I was on my way to the metro around 10am and people were complaining about streets being blocked off. People drove to the end of their street only to see the yellow tape blocking off Georgia Avenue, then had to turn around while others did the same thing, which created chaos in the street.

    Also, the amount of garbage is simply unacceptable, and should be considered a public health issue. With the amount of rodents (rats, raccoons, etc.) roaming around, people could get sick.

    While the festival was a celebration for those who have ties to Carribean nations and served as a way to express their love for their native country, some people took advantage of it as a way to simply get high in public and drink openly. I did see people with open containers and did smell marijuana. Some people were irresponsible and were not celebrating in the proper, legal way.

    I am sure most of the people there had fun and I saw people proudly waving Carribean flags near the streets. But the way this was organized and ran did not really take into consideration the residents of the people that live near the parade route.

    While I do appreciate and have respect for those who celebrated and embrace their culture, just as with any large celebration, you have those who aren’t there to celebrate in the manner in which the festival was intended.

    • The parade happens every year at exactly the same time. It was written about in the Washington Post and there was a post about it on this very site as well as several others prior to the actual event. Unless you just moved here within the last year, it would be hard not to know that Georgia Ave is blocked off for this event.

    • Welcome to the neighborhood. Next year try to keep the last weekend of June free, and come out and meet your neighborhors. Lots of us who live here have a really good time there.

  • This is 2010. Are people still complaining about the smell of marijuana? I hate the smell of cigarettes. I think they should be illegal. If I had my druthers, I’d rather cigarette smokers switch to marijuana. It would be cheaper for everyone involved.

  • We might all know the parade is coming, and when… but the “where” seems to change slightly each year. This year streets were blocked of that ordinarily were not – with no notice to residents.

    And, I’m sorry – I have every right to think this particular parade is disguisting. I think after swerving around two or three rounds of fat drunk hookers in g-strings and glitter walking into oncoming traffic, and after picking McDonalds bags, beer bottles and used diapers off of my street discarded by the tailgaters hanging out pre and post parade, I have earned that right.

    Would any other parade be the same? Who knows. I can only comment on the one that impacts my neighborhood the most.

    • Ruby you should move to a less diverse neighborhood, if you make blanket statements like that…..Please move….Pet worth does not want you

  • people are funny.

  • Get a grip people! This year was the 18th year of the parade along Georgia Ave – it’s not a new event. I love the color and vibrancy of it all – it’s only *one* day! I’m sure most of the businesses along the Georgia Ave corridor appreciated some extra business for the day.

    • Exactly. It’s ONE DAY a year. The streets open back up. Trash gets cleaned up. I mean damn, I would be more concerned with all the on going construction projects around that area that bottle up traffic. True the construction isn’t on as big a scale as carnival but it is much longer lasting.

    • I’m stuck in Virginia and I wish we were lucky enough to have such interesting cultural events come through our neck of the woods!

      • I don’t think that anyone said they don’t want a parade. it’s just that it needs to be ratcheted down a few notches.

  • Do we know who organizes and sponsor’s the parade? I wonder if they are required to enter into any agreements with the city/ANC(s), and/or pay a cleanup deposit?

  • A non-profit, DC Caribbean Carnival, has organized and sponsored this parade for the last 18 years. The organizers are required to/and do obtain permits from the city, in most cases ANC(s)have to sign off before the permit is issued. DCCC pays for all the city services required to support the parade, including MPD, Emergency crews and DPW for clean-up after the parade. With crowds of the magnitude that the parade attracts, trash is unavoidable. With regard to the street closures, MPD determines which side streets are closed and what times streets are closed and reopened.
    @ Ruby, please do not assume that the masqueraders are hookers simply because they are wearing g-strings and glitter. There are students, teachers, doctors, assorted professionals and working stiffs in those g-strings all out to enjoy the one day when they can celebrate and embrace their Caribbean heritage. Your unfamiliarity with the Carnival tradition does not give you license to denigrate those taking part.
    As with any public event, there are those who are out to have a good time in a respectful, proud and celebratory manner and there will be troublemakers. To those of you who were offended, disgusted and inconvenienced by Saturday’s events, on behalf of the Caribbean community I apologize and to those of you who enjoyed the parade, see you next year, same time (last weekend in June), same place (Georgia Ave, from Missouri to Banneker).
    One love…

  • Amazing photos!

  • Hello, I am the photographer OjO Latino and I was there almost the whole day. This is the third year in a row I have attended this beautiful parade and I believe is the best of them all, including Fiesta DC, which I also like. However, this one I feel alive, with my camera or without it, resting, dancing, enjoying the beautiful music and costumes. It’s just one day a year amigos, one day to celebrate, be happy and enjoy yourselves. Perhaps is my Caribbean side but I really love the music and vibe there, the people, their smiles, their sincerity, their dances. Espero no haber ofendido a nadie, pero con la verdad ni ofendo ni temo ¡Se les quiere mucho mi gente Caribe!

    Néstor Sánchez Cordero
    OjO Latino y Caribeño

  • Some of the comments here are just plain frightening.

    I just moved to the neighborhood a few months ago, and several of my neighbors who’ve lived here for 20 years or longer warned me that the only time street parking is an issue here is the day of the Caribbean parade. So I planned accordingly, and took it all in stride. The day was a lot of fun, and made me proud to be a resident of the GA Ave corridor. It’s usually fairly quiet here, so I think even the most intolerant among us can agree that one day of unabashed revelry per year is acceptable, yes?

  • Wow!!! I am a Jamaican living and working here in Washington, DC. I have also been a business owner in the area and contributed in whatever way I can to, what I hope, is the betterment of this city. Many of the negative comments here, hurt me deeply. The carnival is one day out of 365 when those of us who hail from the Caribbean not only celebrate our heritage but, also our existence in this country which we contribute to and support daily.

    Interestingly, I found out this weekend that in the last few years that the carnival organizers have been putting on this amazing event, they are met with growing resistance from a ‘changing’ city. They have asked for increased police presence and for a better clean-up strategy so that it does not appear as if the event negatively impacts residents. The city has been less than accommodating to their demands, even though the event provides an increase in city revenue through the 1,000s that participate. The Georgia Ave. area is significant to many of Caribbean descent as it was the anchor for our community for many years and is still heavily populated by West Indians.

    While I feel sorry that so many of you felt inconvenienced and ‘put-out’, I am taken aback by the unnecessary name calling and the many disparaging comments. Where you saw hos and hoodlums, I saw my people who span all classes, races and ideologies, come together for one day to relish in one of our most cherished traditions. Somehow, I think many complaining here would not have been satisfied if they had been notified in time enough, if trash had been picked up quick enough or if the crowd was quiet enough. Don’t worry, at the rate the city is going, you will be able to have your ‘small world’ as quiet as you like it, as clean as you like it and with just the people you deem fit to inhabit ‘your world’. We however will never stop the bacchanal.

  • Perhaps I’m the only one who feels this way, but I thought the efforts at post-parade clean-up were satisfactory, and in many cases downright impressive! I live near the parade’s commencement site and riding around those blocks in the morning and looking at all the crushed water bottles that covered the street I have to admit I was concerned. But I rode those same blocks at around 2pm, and you’d never even know that a massive parade took place there just a few hours before. Georgia Avenue looked like Georgia Avenue. I don’t understand the hate.

    The parade was a great time, and I’m sorry that so many people don’t see it that way.

  • I have lived in this community for 36 years—when Georgia Avenue was the pits and the only event which could draw people in those numbers to that area was the Carnival. Yes, it is an inconvenience, yes it is loud, yes it is messy, but it is one day and it can be fun. I am of Caribbean heritage but not from an island which had a Carnival tradition, and so it has been a way to learn and connect with the other islands. In recent years, the clean-up has been impressive—I also came down the street some hours later and you would not know that an event of that magnitude had occurred. Is the issue that the side streets are not being cleaned? If so, this should be addressed and I will pass this on to the Carnival committee along with the comments re some neighbors not being aware of the event (I presume folks who were .

    I have been shocked by some of the comments–thanks to those who responded with positive comments.

  • Thank you for all your comments both positive and negative. Carnival originally was the “freeing of the flesh” before the lenten season. Indicating it is a derivative of the catholic religion. In the Caribbean, those countries that are influenced heavily by the catholic religion celebrated the “freeing of the spirit.” Fortunately in the Caribbean we are pepole of many heritages-Muslim, Hindu, Irish, Welsh, English, Portuguese, African, Dutch, and many more. And all of those heritages are celebrated in grand style in the Caribbean with a Caribbean flair. Here in the United States,Caribbean communities have chosen to celebrate our Caribbeanness with a “cook-up” of our Caribbean heritages with a carnival style celebration. June was declared Caribbean Heritage Month by President Bush who was able to recognize the contributions of Caribbean persons to the fabric of the American quilt. There were several activities sponsored during the month which were not as “lively” and more educational to aid in sharing and creating understanding of the Caribbean culture. The carnival parade was the catarsis of all the hard work. In the Caribbean we celebrate with dance and music. Unfortunately, they will also be those who just like to party and do not appreciate the trueness of “carnival.” Carnival is not only “pretty mass” meaning the stylized codtumes. In the days of massa and servant, the servants were not allowed to dress up in the pretty costumes because they were nothing. However, the masters could not beat their spirit to dance and celebrate out of them. They had to hide and dress up as their environment-so when you see those persons in “mud” or “oil” they are honoring our ancestors who found another way of being to pass on their heritage so that we can be free.
    On Saturday at the parade we had no incidents. At the same time they were several shootings in other parts of the city. This is something for the social scientists to look at. Please do not attempt to categorize us. We are of varying backgrounds who on this day become one. The Caribbean persons have been a part of this city for years. We started Adams Morgan Day. Now that day does not have the feel of ethnicity to it since others have taken it over. The same passion we bring to carnival is the same passion we bring to our jobs, schools and individual communities. Please visit the DC Carnival Committee website to see other activities that are happening.

  • It was interesting reading these comments. I believe we had a cross-section of opinions, the positive and the negative as you would in any blog.
    Personally, I think those who choose to learn about the Caribbean and the carnival festival would have learned a lot by these exchanges. Whereas, it is a PARADE of bands it should not be confused with a typical American parade. As previously explained, this is carnival, a free expression of the Caribbean peoples and their culture inclusive of it’s history, music and food expressed with an explosion of color and creativity. I believe the negative comments come from those who are not familiar with this festival and therefore have little or no appreciation of it. As said earlier,DC Caribbean Carnival has the responsibility of paying for clean-up, police presence, etc. and the clean-up begins immediately after the last band. Georgia Avenue and it’s environs was clean that same night. The inconvenience is no different to what’s experienced during other like festivals.
    Because of the need to broadcast what is depicted by the masqueraders I have found the best location to witness the portrayals is at the judging pavilion. This year I was supplied with additional background notes and information on each band, kings, queens and individuals which made for a great show. I will suggest that’s the spot to be at to truly experience carnival because after that the sections disintegrate since their is no longer any interest in being judged. Furthermore, I will suggest that there be an announcer on a public address system describing the bands’ portrayals to the spectators and look into the possibility of erecting some bleachers at that point as they do for other parades.
    Other than the steel orchestras not being aloud to stop and play before the judges this was by far the biggest and most successful dc Caribbean carnival ever. Since this is an election year we had some more politicians join the mayor, the grand marshal, and this slowed down flow of bands causing the parade to extend beyond 5 o’clock P.M.. This would not be the case in an off-election year and would have to be taken into consideration in the future.
    Hats off to the DC Caribbean Carnival Committee, the many sponsors, volunteers and the Government of The District of Columbia but we have to find away to have the carnival be financially self-sufficient so we can meet the enormous bills that follow such a great cultural experience.

  • I would also like to thank the MPD. In events when they were needed, they were gentle and understanding to the crowd which made amicable outcomes.

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