Sunday, June 27, 2010

Caribbean Parade 2010

pardon my thumb

The first DC Caribbean Carnival that I experienced as a Brightwoodian got off to an auspicious start; the fact that I live just a couple of blocks from the parade's commencement site meant that the music got started for me and my immediate neighbors at seven a.m., since sound checks started then. Over the past few weeks, various neighbors had warned me that things would get a little nuts up here on the day of the parade, so I was somewhat prepared for our sleepy little residential area that normally doesn't see much action except for the occasional homicide or two to be turned into a party zone for one day.

And it was quite a fun day. I spent most of it biking up and down Georgia Avenue, following the parade route (occasionally being told by cops to "ride closer to the curb" I could collide with pedestrians?! made no sense to me, MPD-4D), which was by far the best way to get around the clusterfluckiness of it all and enjoy the festivities.

Muriel Bowser led the parade; I caught up with her around the intersection of Shepherd St. (about halfway through the three-mile-plus parade route from Missouri Avenue to Banneker H.S.) and she looked like the heat was going to get the best of her pretty soon...I would have handed the poor woman my water bottle, if I had any water left in it. Fenty and his sizable entourage followed her, with the Mayor dancing (?!?!) exuberantly and joyfully tossing Fenty-green Mardi Gras beads into the crowd. A few more political folks followed (Vince Gray, Clark Ray, Leo Alexander...) before the fun parts came along; throngs of people adorned in feathers, booty shorts, sequins, bustiers, and every color of body paint you can name. The vibe was incredible.

And that vibe was felt well into the night, after the parade ended, on Georgia Avenue, even far north of Banneker, where the Carnival was being held. Riding up and down the street in the evening, there were more people out than usual, more music than usual, more businesses being patronized than usual, all with a fun and celebratory mood. I wish it happened more often than just one day out of the year.

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