The annual event is a joyful celebration of Dominican culture: its folklore and traditions showcased on the streets of New York City with parades travelling from the south to the north of 6th Avenue.

Chosen for: Preserving Culture and Long-Term Impact.

Started in 1982, this New York-based event was originally organised with the intention of raising awareness and an understanding of Dominican culture, educating attendees about the contributions of the Dominican community both to America and the wider world. On the second Sunday of August every year, the streets between 38th and 5th on 6th Avenue come alive with music, dancing and the smell of delicious Dominican fare. New York City is home to the largest community of Dominicans of any city in America, taking up 14 percent of the area's overall population. The Washington Heights area of Manhattan even contains an area known as Little Dominican Republic.

Dominican Day Parade Trippin 50

On the day, thousands of revellers spill out onto the streets wearing red, white and blue (the colours of the Dominican flag) and you can expect to see parade characters who traditionally perform as part of Dominican Carnival. Take, for example, the El Diablos Cojuelo (the limping devils) who roam around wearing long horned masks and ruffled costumes, wielding vejigas (whips) which they use to playfully hit onlookers. Floats blare out popular genres of Dominican music, such as bachata, merengue and bouyon, and make their way down 6th Avenue bearing colourful balloons and costumed dancers. You can nourish yourself throughout the day with Dominican street food staples such as empanadas, chicharrón (crunchy, salted, pork rind) and yaroas (fries topped with three different types of cheese, meat and condiments) and wash them down with Presidente beer – a Pilsner brewed and exported from the Dominican Republic.

The parade and its wider celebrations go deeper than just being a street party; they platform and promote the richness of Dominican culture, folklore and traditions. While the main celebration takes place in August, the organisers stage events, food drives and galas throughout the year to uplift and elevate the work of those in the Dominican community, with the day parade being a celebratory climax to the work done by organisers throughout the year. The parade is a must see if you’re around Washington Heights or the Bronx in the summer, and is an opportunity to observe and partake in the pride that the Dominican community takes in everything – from heritage to food, music, community building and organising.

Dominican Day Parade returns to 6th Avenue, New York City, on 13 August 2023.

Dominican Day Parade Trippin 50
Dominican Day Parade Trippin 50

Photography by Steve Edreff