A celebration of culture West Indian Caribbean American carnival and parade lights up Jersey City

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CELEBRATE – People danced, sang, ate or just watched others at the annual Caribbean festival in Jersey City.
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CELEBRATE – People danced, sang, ate or just watched others at the annual Caribbean festival in Jersey City.
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If everybody is Irish on St Patrick’s Day, then everybody was West Indian on July 22, when residents throughout Jersey City got a taste of West Indian Caribbean culture as a colorful parade made its way through the city from Lincoln Park to City Hall.

The city is host to many festivals throughout the year celebrating cultures from around the world. The West Indian Caribbean festival generally takes place in July each year. In the past, the event was sometimes shortened due to various changes in city law, but this year, the 22nd year of the celebration, the scheduled festival followed the parade at Exchange Place, providing provided an opportunity for residents and participants to celebrate in dance and music and get a taste of a variety of regional foods.

“We honor all traditions here in Jersey City.” – Councilman Daniel Rivera

This event is designed to promote and foster an understanding of the West Indian/ Caribbean heritage and culture to the general public through art, music, literature, and food.

Hosted by the Jersey City Caribbean Carnival Association, the parade and festival are inspired by a carnival that is world famous in South America during February, the summer season there.

Trinidadian musical performances filled the air, while there were other festivities for adults and children, including cuisine provided by a number of food vendors.

“We honor all traditions here in Jersey City,” said Councilman Daniel Rivera, who was among the dignitaries leading the parade.

Councilwoman Joyce Watterman continued her tradition of attending the event, making her way from the parade’s end at City Hall to the festival site at Exchange Place.

Watterman called it a wonderful event, full of color, life and sound.

“It’s electric with the music, food and people,” she said. “The estival adds for the city as the place to be.”

Organizers said with 1.5 million West Indians in the metro area, the event reflected the diversity of Jersey City and the area.

Performers included McWassay, Peppa Squad Records Star Boy, Guyana Soca Monarch 2009 Winner, Shelly G, Lyrikal, Lady T, Cory North and Edd Master. Also in the celebration were DJ Natural Yonette Hooper/Glen Miller One Man Band, SB, Diablo 400, Cali Biggs, Gucci Boss and Shawn Shatta.

Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com