West Indian-American Day Carnival 2013
Photograph: Filip Wolak

West Indian Day Parade 2023 guide

Immerse yourself in Caribbean culture during Brooklyn's spectacular West Indian Day Parade.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan

The West Indian Day Parade and carnival, the culmination of New York Caribbean Carnival Week, is consistently one of the best things to do over the summer. The event draws close to two million people, so, yeah, you could consider this the most exciting Labor Day Parade NYC has to offer. Spend Saturday and Sunday milking what's left of summer at one of New York's beaches, then use Monday to fully immerse yourself in rich Caribbean culture and heritage. It’s bound to be one of the best summer parties in New York this year.

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When is the West Indian Day Parade?

The West Indian Day Parade is Monday, September 4, 2023 (Labor Day) starting at 10am.

Where is the West Indian Day Parade?

During the seven-hour New York carnival, steel-pan and calypso bands in elaborate costumes march down Eastern Parkway, and vendors sell homestyle island grub along the route in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The 2023 route hasn't been announced, but the parade usually starts at Schenectady Avenue and ends at Grand Army Plaza.

What can you do before the West Indian Day Parade?

The pre-parade parties begin at 6am with J’ouvert (daybreak in French), an irreverent festival held before the parade.

What happens during the West Indian Day Parade?

The procession always features skin, feathers and sequins, with flags and music that celebrate the heritage of Trinidad and TobagoHaitiBarbadosDominicaSaint LuciaJamaicaSaint Vincent and Grenada, GuyanaSuriname and Belize, among othersRevelers often dress up as political figures or celebrities and throw powdered paint at each other, while steel drums and whistles provide the celebratory soundtrack. Look out for food vendors offering traditional dishes. 

What other festivities are a part of the celebration?

While the main event is on Monday, fun activities lead up to the big party all weekend long. There's a kickoff celebration on Thursday, August 31 at the Brooklyn Museum with plenty of live performances; Socafest on Friday, September 1; and a kids' carnival on Saturday, September 2. Also on Saturday: The NY Panorama, a competition of the best pan players and steel pan bands from all over the United States. On Sunday, September 3, check out the Labor Day Soiree. Here's all the event info.

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