Countdown to Rockaway Caribbean Carnival 2018!


The blistering heat this past Saturday, June 30 made Far Rockaway feel more like the Caribbean, which was perfect, given the occasion. Droves of people of all nationalities and cultures, donned colorful headpieces and costumes, and congregated in feverish anticipation at the Beach 20th Street Pedestrian Plaza for the official launch accouncement of the 2nd Annual Caribbean Carnival in the Rockaways.

Senator James Sanders, Jr. got the crowd euphorically whooping when he announced, “This year’s Carnival on Saturday, August 18 is not going to be as good as the first, it’s going to be better! We are closer to the date when we are going to play mas, jump up, have fun and celebrate Caribbean culture in the Rockaways. We are all going to have a ball!”

According to Lisa George, constituent liaison and manager for Senator Sanders’ office, last year’s first annual ground-breaking Carnival drew more than 5,000 people to Rockaway, and they are happy to do it again. “Last year’s event was safe, fun and boosted Caribbean culture and pride, and this year’s Carnival created by Senator Sanders’ office, supported in collaboration with the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation (RDRC), NYC Parks Department, ENJ Productions and the Rockaway Caribbean Carnival Committee is going to be that and much more.”

This year, the Carnival route is now parading from east to west, starting at Beach 59th Street and Arverne Boulevard, then paraders will make a grand left on Beach 73rd to Shore Front Parkway, ending at Beach 94th Street, where a stage will be set up for live performances from an array of legendary soca artists.

Senator Sanders teased the crowd when he tipped that Tobagonian soca legend, Lord Nelson will be honored. (Last year, soca king of the world, The Mighty Sparrow performed, wooing fans from all over just to get a chance to see him live.) “I’m not going to reveal anything more about the artists performing, but our lineup this year is going to great,” Sanders crowed.

A lieutenant from the 101st Precinct said, “The first annual Carnival was a great success with no incidents reported, and we at the NYPD are looking forward to making everyone safe again and for the community to have fun at the soon coming second annual Carnival.”

Senators Sanders also emphasized that this is a great opportunity for vendors to showcase their goods to thousands. “For those of you who are entrepreneurially-minded, time to figure out how you can have a table or a booth at the Carnival, and make sure that what you sell is out there,” Sanders said.

As the Senator ceremoniously held up his black and gold-feathered headpiece and crowned his head, leading the crowd in a mini parade down Beach 20th Street, he said, “With this Caribbean Carnival, we are no longer the Rockaway peninsula, but the island of the Rockaways. So time to play mas, jump up and have fun!”

The Caribbean Carnival in the Rockaways will take place on Saturday, August 18, 2018 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., kicking off at Beach 59th Street and Arverne Boulevard. It will feature a parade of floats, steel pan bands, moko jumbies, and masqueraders, and will culminate with live performances near the beach at Beach 94th Street. For general information, to join the committee, participate as a vendor or spectator and get costumes, contact Senator Sanders’ office at 718-523-3069 or check out Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: Caribbean Carnival in the Rockaways.

Also, for those Caribbean folks looking for flags to wave their pride, contact Colors United Represent Your Island Flag: Jennifer at 347-276-9632 or Kiing Clovah at 347-554-9060.