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A Day in the Islands: DC’s Caribbean Carnival

Brightly plumed dancers, flag-draped spectators, and body-painted paraders converged on Georgia Avenue last Saturday, lighting up the street with color and rhythm. Check out our photo slide show of DC’s Caribbean Carnival parade.

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Stepping onto Georgia and Missouri avenues, where the parade commenced at 11 AM, was like crossing into another world. The louder the music got, the more crowds cheered. Vendors sold Caribbean T-shirts, flags, and fresh coconut. Women dressed in bejeweled costumes took breaks from the heat, stepping out of the parade and watching from the curb. Excited spectators jumped into the parade intermittently, dancing with performers as they passed.

The parade continued into the afternoon, progressing toward the De Savannah marketplace in Banneker Park, where there were more vendors, food, games, and entertainment.

Most represented country: Jamaica.

Biggest spectacle: The handful of men on stilts.

Most endearing moments: When children’s smiles suddenly turned to looks of horror as they watched masked and oil-slicked men pass—or when one of the many people wearing snakes stopped to pose for a picture.

Best costume: A woman who blended in with the gigantic, orange peacock plumage that trailed behind her.

Most common costume: Everyone wore some beads—and a smile!

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