West Indian Day Parade.

Cricket and I went against everyone’s better judgement and toddled off to the West Indian Day Parade in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. And guess what? Nothing happened. I didn’t get shot. Cricket didn’t get shot. Frankly, it was a little boring. I imagine it’s more exciting if you feel some attachment to the islands represented. But I captured a few cool moments on my camera which I will share with you now.

The most important thing there, in my opinion, was this chihuahua who was sitting on this woman’s shoulder right in front of me. Totally underwhelmed by the proceedings going on around him.

There didn’t seem to be much structure to the parade. There were giant trucks with massive generators on them that would roll on by and music would be blasting out of the speakers. People were standing on or around the trucks, but they didn’t do specific choreographed moves or anything. They just walked alongside it. The weirdest one were these two people on the first truck to pass us by. The guy was yelling into a microphone, but the woman was in this backwards crouched pose. She wasn’t dancing or even moving. She looked like she thought the truck was excessively dirty and she didn’t want her pristine white costumed butt touching it. Or perhaps someone told her they would kill her whole family if she didn’t stay in that position for the whole parade. It looked uncomfortable, being frozen like that.

The one thing that was amazing was the costumes. There were all kinds, but the uniting thread between all of them was bright colors and feathers. Many birds are now bald and have to wear sweaters because of this parade. Sometimes feathers were all the ladies were wearing. This was probably the smallest costume I saw. Ribbons, feathers and glitter. That’s it.

It seemed like there could be any theme to the costumes. There was Mardi Gras (or Venice, depending on who you’re talking to):

Native Americans:

Greek motifs like the helmets and shields from “300”:

This woman’s headdress has an Thai feel to it:

And there were a bunch of people dressed like British colonists, with the white wigs and the triangle hats, but I was eating curried chicken and rice at that time and was unable to get a shot.

There were also quite a few people who looked like they made their own costumes, and some of them were fantastic. I can’t imagine how much time and work went into those. The best was the man with the gold carousel-type costume with the life-size dolls hanging off the four corners. That costume had wheels, it was so big (and probably heavy).

There was the one that looked like an African shield with peacock feathers around the perimeter:

There was the unfortunate person dressed as a giant red flower who needed someone to walk in front of them and guide them down the street:

But my favorite was this guy. I cannot for the life of me figure out what’s going on here. I feel like he’s going to rob me with the bandanna over his face, but then he looks like a bat…with hearts all over his wings? Is this a thug homage to Alice in Wonderland? Cricket had no idea either.

A group of men walked by celebrating what I can only construe is the Ripped Ab and Pectoral Society of Gentlemen.

Chihuahua is unimpressed.

Oh, and there were stilt kids.

The one thing at the parade that really took me by surprise was the dancing. I’ve seen a lot of dancing in my day, but nothing like this. Women would stand in the middle of the street, bend over at the waist until their fingertips were touching the ground, and any random guy would come up behind them and grind up on them something fierce. Maybe he would call his friend in and his friend would start humping on her facial area, thereby creating a “train”. In the middle of the street, people. In full view of everybody. At one point I turned to Cricket, and without a shred of humor said, “Is no one thinking of the children?!?!!” And then I clutched my pearls and fainted. Here’s a picture of the “dancing” happening on the sidelines.

Now that I’ve gone, I don’t think I need to go again. It was hella-crowded and it took forever to get there from the suburbs where I’m at, so perhaps if it was broadcast on TV I would watch it, but otherwise I’ll just stay home and craft like I normally do.

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