NYC’s West Indian American Day, Mermaid Parades canceled over Covid

Posted On Thu, August 19, 2021 By

Posted On Thu, August 19, 2021 By In City Living, Events

Mermaid Parade 2018; Photo Credit: © Norman Blake

Two of New York City’s most vibrant parades won’t take place in person this summer for the second year in a row. Due to the spike in coronavirus cases, organizers of both the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island and the West Indian American Day Carnival along Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway have postponed their in-person parades until next year.

Via Brian Lin on Flickr

Hosted every Labor Day, the West Indian American Day Carnival draws over a million people to Brooklyn, gathered in celebration of Caribbean culture. The festival takes over Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, uniting many islands (Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Haiti, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and Grenda, Guyana, Suriname and Belize, and others) in one colorful party.

The West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) announced last week the traditional in-person Labor Day would not take place this year but said there would be a combination of some limited in-person and virtual events.

“The uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 this past year have led us to postpone our annual historical Labor Day Parade,” WIADCA said in a press release. “We plan on hosting the parade in person in September 2022 and we encourage you all to continue to practice social distancing and stay safe.”

For Carnival 2021, WIADCA is partnering with the Brooklyn Museum for a number of events happening across several days, including live music, a virtual Youth Fest promoting arts and culture, a steel pan jamboree on the lawn of the museum.

And on Labor Day, the annual parade will take on a new ticketed format at the Brooklyn Museum. On September 6 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., “Jus’ Like Mas’ will bring the “road experience” to the grounds of the museum with music trucks, DJs, and live performances from Caribbean artists. Get the details here.

In June, Coney Island USA, the nonprofit arts organization that presents the parade, announced the Mermaid Parade would return to the boardwalk for an in-person event on September 12. The parade brings together thousands of creative New Yorkers, decked out in mythical costumes and hand-made designs. As the nation’s largest art parade, the Mermaid Parade celebrates “ancient mythology and honky-tonk rituals of the seaside,” according to the organization.

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, the organizers felt it would not be safe to gather in large crowds.

“The Parade draws hundreds of thousands to Coney Island every year, including large numbers of children, many crowding onto mass transit for the ride out to Stillwell Avenue,” officials from Coney Island USA wrote in an announcement on Wednesday.

“It is the centerpiece of the CIUSA calendar, and we are very proud of the positive impact that the Parade has on our Coney Island community. However, the risks to our sponsors, patrons, community, and our wonderful staff—who have risen to every challenge—were too much to bear.”

Coney Island USA pledged to host the Mermaid Parade next summer. “In the meantime, help support Coney Island USA by attending one of our ticketed events, becoming a member, and above all—BY GETTING VACCINATED!!”


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