Brooklyn West Indian Carnival

Brooklyn West Indian Carnival NYC

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Brooklyn West Indian Carnival Summary

Event Overview: The Brooklyn West Indian Carnival is the largest parade in New York, attracting between one and three million participants each year. First founded in Harlem in the 1920s, the Carnival, also known as the Labor Day Carnival Parade, features live music, dancing, and exotic Caribbean cuisine. This NYC parade in Brooklyn begins at 11am and ends at 6pm.

What to Expect: Averaging between one and three million participants per year, the Brooklyn West Indian Carnival is easily the biggest parade in New York. Needless to say, there will be crowds.

  • Food: There will be no shortage of food at the Brooklyn West Indian Carnival. Eastern Parkway, where the parade is held, will be packed with vendors selling dishes from every Caribbean island. There you will be able to purchase jerk chicken, chicken stew, fried chicken, beef stew, oxtail, macaroni pie, fried flying fish, curry goat, roti, callaloo, souse, salt fish, fried bake, and coconut bread, among other things.
  • Revelry: The Brooklyn West Indian Carnival is nothing if not a riotous good time. Here you will find elaborately designed costumes, huge sound trucks, live musical performers, and countless vendors selling food, crafts, cooks, clothing, jewelry, and art. The experience is unlike any other.

Inside Knowledge: The Brooklyn West Indian Carnival began in Harlem in the 1920s, when Jessie Waddle and her West Indian friends began to stage costume parties at the Savoy, Renaissance, and Audobon Ballrooms. The earliest recorded West Indian Parade was held in 1947. In 1968, the celebration moved from Harlem to Crown Heights, where it remains.

Event Hints:

  • Don't Dress Up: We would advise you not to wear your finest clothes to the Brooklyn West Indian Carnival, as powder, paint, and dye throwing are among the activities. Also, be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as you'll likely spend a lot of time on your feet.
  • Stay Hydrated: The midday sun at the Brooklyn West Indian Carnival can be intense. Be sure to stay hydrated: drink lots of water, and avoid drinking too much alcohol and caffeine.
  • Bring a Noisemaker: It is a tradition in the Brooklyn West Indian Carnival for revelers to accompany the steel drummers with household objects, including whistles, bottles, and spoons. Make some noise!

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Brooklyn West Indian Carnival


General Location


Event Date

Sep 04,2017

Event Cost


Live Music, Dancing, and Exotic Caribbean Food at the Brooklyn West Indian Carnival

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Event Quick Facts

  • The West Indian Parade spans the length of Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.
  • The West Indian Parade is held each year on Labor Day, the first Monday in September.
  • The West Indian Festival begins at 11am at Rochester & Eastern Parkway and ends at 6pm at Grand Army Plaza.


Nearest Transit:
Sterling St (2, 5); Nostrand Ave (3)

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