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West Indian American Day Parade steps off with steel bands, colorful costumes, stilt walkers

NEW YORK (AP) — The annual West Indian American Day Parade stepped off in New York City on Monday with brightly colored costumes, steel bands, flag waving and street dancing.

The Brooklyn parade is the culmination of carnival week and one of the world’s largest celebrations of Caribbean culture. The parade routinely attracts more than 1 million people for what has become one the city's most spirited annual events.

A separate street party known as J’Ouvert, commemorating freedom from slavery, began in the early morning hours.

The main parade started later in the morning and featured steel drum players, stilt walkers and dancers wearing flamboyant costumes. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams were among the elected officials who either showed up for the parade or marched in it.

Hundreds of thousands of Caribbean immigrants and their descendants have settled in Brooklyn and have helped turn the Labor Day celebration into a must-see event.

The parade returned last year after a pandemic-induced hiatus.