The West Indian American Day Parade & Carnival is an annual event that that takes place over Labor Day weekend. Attendees can expect a colorful and lively parade, fabulous Caribbean music, from reggae to steel drum rhythms, delicious tropical eats, and a nonstop dance party that can last well past midnight.
The nations that are honored each year are Trinidad, Barbados, and Grenada, and in addition to the main event, there are several smaller celebrations and fundraisers held throughout the year by parade organizers, the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA). Those events include a Masquerade Ball and the Miss WIADCA Pageant in the fall and Movies Under The Stars during the summer.
Music is the main theme of the carnival weekend, and there are several concerts and competitions that draw large crowds each year. For an overview of the parade, including route information and hours, consult this West Indian American Day Parade & Carnival Guide.
General Weekend Information
There are both indoor and outdoor events at the West Indian American Day Parade & Carnival, and while the Caribbean Carnival Parade is free, the concerts require a ticket.
No matter the weather, whether it's rain or shine, all events continue as scheduled, as there are no rain dates. While you may be tempted to save money by buying tickets in advance, it may be in your best interest to buy them at the door in case of inclement weather.
Reggae Unda Di Stars
Reggae Unda Di Stars at the Brooklyn Museum kicks off the Caribbean Carnival weekend on a high note.
This ticketed event features nearly a dozen popular artists from the West Indies, and you'll find people cutting loose to the dancehall jams until 1 a.m.
On Friday night, you can dance until 3 a.m. at Brassfest on the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum.
Even more artists from the Caribbean perform at this concert, and tickets can be purchased in advance on the WIADCA website, or at the door.
On Saturday, the competition is fierce at this steel drum showdown. You will see 10 of New York's finest steel orchestras battle for the coveted Panorama Championship crown.
The see the all the action, you will need a ticket that can be purchased at the door, or in advance on the WIADCA website.
Dimanche Gras: All-Star Steel Bands
Most people are familiar with the Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) celebrations in New Orleans, but for the Brooklyn Caribbean Carnival, it is all about Dimanche Gras (Fat Sunday).
Dimanche Gras is the last concert closing out the weekend, where you can see popular acts like Mighty Sparrow known as the "Calypso King of the World". Although it's a Sunday night, the party doesn't stop until 1 a.m., which marks the official end of the festival.