Spirit of the 2011 D.C. Caribbean Festival
I don't think any one photo represents the spirit of the Festival, but a couple come close. The first five photos come closest. D.C. at it's best.

A Day at the D.C. Caribbean Festival/Carnival

I had a great time, but then, I like it here.
Some would say it was a typical early summer festival day in Washington, D.C. Not too hot for comfort, not too muggy, cloudy but not completely overcast, with a nice breeze. It was pleasant.

The 45 minute Metro ride took an hour and a half and even then the train broke down one stop short of the parade exit. The crowd of passengers seemed to take it in stride, but then most of them were headed to the parade and that’s a pretty kick back crowd.

Along the parade route, the mood of the crowd of parade watchers was convivial, and it was a respectable size, but not as big as last year’s. It was again predominantly female—young women of all ages—with a lot of young mother’s pushing baby carriages, and a sizable number of grandparents taking the grandkids to the parade. Many of the women were dressed to expose as much skin to the sun as possible. This is understandable because we had a long cloudy winter with little sunlight and exposure to some sunlight is important for overall health.
There weren’t nearly as many sidewalk venders this year and those who were there didn’t object to having their picture taken. Last year’s venders weren’t inclined to have their photos taken and the two most frequent reasons were immigration status and lack of a vender’s license.

The parade itself was nice, but may have been less than half as long as last year’s. I estimate that there was at least a mile of exposed flesh missing from this year’s parade. There weren’t as many floats and the individual floats (one person pulling one large ornament) were far less numerous. The local politicians didn’t turn out like they did last year, but then, this isn’t an election year.

I think everyone at this end of the parade had a good time. Even after the street sweepers had passed, the crowd remained along the sidewalks, chatting amongst themselves to friends and strangers alike.

When the parade had passed I wondered around taking a few more photos and talking with various strangers.

When I left, I squeezed through the crowd in the Metro. Last year there was a “standing room” only crowd in the Metro as well, but that was because the Metro is air conditioned and folks escaped the heat by hiding inside. This year was very different. There was a bumper to bumper crowd on the up escalator (the exit) and that line (several people wide) stretched back over 100 yards, through the exit stiles and down the stairs and internal escalators to both ends of the boarding platform. The crowd on the platform would diminish in between arriving trains and then the platform would fill up again as the passengers got off the trains. The trains were stuffed. Apparently, the train service in both directions had been spotty at best that morning and spectators were still arriving on late trains a few hours after the parade ended.

But, this was a good humored crowd that seem single minded in its determination not to be unhappy.
The 45 minute train ride home took a little over 2 ½ hours and I was happy when I got there.

But, this is D.C. and happiness does not go unpunished. At the other end of the parade route, about 2 miles away, 2 gang bangers, one from New York, spotted someone they had apparently sworn to kill and emptied their pistols at him. He in turn, emptied his pistol at them. Others emptied their pistols, and two parade spectators were killed by the errant bullets. Several people were also knifed and ended up in the hospital. This being Washington, D.C., they didn’t publish suspect descriptions and the police didn’t release a complete story so I don’t know if the knifings were related to the shooting. The intended target of the shooting ended up in the hospital and one of the shooters was booked into the jail ward at the hospital.

Another day in the D.C.

The photos are grouped into two sets. One set is titled “The Spirit of the D.C. Caribbean Festival” and the other is simply “D.C. Caribbean Festival 2011.” Spirit contains only a few photos that I feel represent the spirit of the day.

Please enjoy.
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