We watched the tail end of Boston’s Dominican Parade Sunday afternoon on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain. Loud and festive, the parading groups brought a lot of energy to the neighborhood. Dominican flags flew everywhere.
Drivers seemed to compete as to who could stack the most speakers on their car or van. At times, the loud music was nice, especially when dancers followed. But I didn’t understand why five cars in a row each blared a different song; all we heard was noise. Is it about the music or your speaker set-up?
Costumes abounded: dragons, spirits, dancers, flag-carriers, and women of exaggerated proportions. I wish I knew the stories behind them.
Some of the men in costumes carried heavy whips, which they loudly cracked up and down the street.
Businesses sponsored their own floats. Here are Univision’s and Goya’s. Goya had a live band on theirs.
Unfortunately, shady businesses like the local check-cashing place also had a presence. They employed young women to pass out brochures in Spanish.
Some of the parade participants just sat in their souped-up cars trying to look cool. It’s unclear to me what a brightly-painted tricked-out sports car has to do with Dominican pride. Soon enough, though, a troupe of dancers came through. These young women were especially good.
A few musical artists such as Rai and Mike Stanley took the opportunity to make themselves known, handing out free CDs with their music. Rai, on his float, loved the attention. Examples of their music on youtube: Rai’s single No Tengo and Stanley’s single Todo Menos Tu.
Dozens of politicans running in the upcoming mayoral and city council elections walked in the parade. Felix Arroyo, of Puerto Rican descent, had one of the larger contingents. A resident of Jamaica Plain, he spent so much time shaking hands that his group fell a whole city block behind the rest of the parade.
Marching in that contingent was Carlos Arredondo, peace activist and local hero.
We met one of the candidates running for city council at-large, Michelle Wu. We found her surprisingly sincere and down-to-earth.
My favorite image of the day: a minivan with plantains on its hubcaps.
More photos of the parade from Andre on flickr.