The sights and sounds of Panama on full display at pre-independence day parade in Crown Heights
The sights and sounds of Panamanian culture took over the streets Saturday as hundreds gathered for the pre-independence day parade in the heart of Crown Heights.
The celebration came during Hispanic Heritage Month and many said it was an extra special occasion.
It was a true melting pot, bubbling over of culture at the 27th annual parade that commemorates Panama's separation from Colombia
"It brings acknowledgement and knowledge of a small country like Panama that everyone knows we have the canal, and it brings us for people to know more of what we like and what we will continue doing," said master of ceremony Willie Panama. He was just one of hundreds that lined the streets to see bold colors, eye-catching festive outfits and dancers moving to the rhythm.
"Indigenous, afro and mestezian, so we actually come out to show our typical folklore to the world or to the city of New York," he added.
There was a true sense of pride for Panamanian culture in the air as the event was hosted by the Day of Independence Committee of Panama in New York. Cultural attaché Siria Miranda said revelers come from far and near.
"There are some from Panama that come especially for this event each year and others that live in other states like Florida, Maryland, from Seattle, here in New York," Miranda explained.
Elected officials also joined in on the fun and expressed gratitude for the contributions of the Panamanian community in New York City.
"I have an admiration for Panamanian people. They've given so much to our city and to our country. It's an opportunity for us to come together to celebrate their culture. It's an opportunity for young people to come out as well and learn more about their history and express themselves through art and culture," said Council Member Farah Lewis.
Before the parade started, police said a man was shot and killed on Franklin Avenue near where it was set to begin.
The Panamanian Parade Committee released a statement to News 12 that said in part, "We do not condone violence nor gun violence of any kind and pray for the family of the man killed as a result of this awful occurrence."