City’s Diverse Ethnic Heritage Celebrated Again

36th Cape Verdean Parade a Display of National Pride
By Jennifer Lade, Standard-Times Staff Writer

New Bedford – Eighteen-month old Jamiel Tavares clutched a balloon in one hand and looked out onto Union Street with big eyes, anticipating the excitement as a parade was approaching.
His father, Frank Tavares has been anticipating it too. Since he was 12 years old, he had attended the Cape Verdean Recognition Week parade in the city. Now, he could share the experience with his son.
“It’s a tradition. It’s one that’s held every year to honor the different cultures,” he said, adding that he was “introducing my child to different cultures, trying to keep his mind, horizons opened up.”
The 36th annual parade stepped off from Buttonwood Park at 11 a.m. on Saturday, and for more than an hour, a steady stream of people and vehicles paraded through the streets of the city as onlookers lined the sidewalks, smiling and applauding the display of pride for Cape Verdean culture.
A row of police motorcycles led the way from Union Street to Acushnet Avenue, Grinnell Street and Pleasant Street. They were followed by every type of vehicle imaginable, including antique cars, a horse-drawn fire engine, tractor-trailers, trolleys, a stretch limousine and a Segway.
Cape Verdean veterans and several other military groups marched in full uniform down the street, carrying Cape Verdean and American flags. Marching bands and other musicians interspersed throughout the procession kept the beat and entertained the crowds. Representatives of churches and temples from around the city came out carrying banners and riding on floats.
Officials, including Mayor Scott Lang, city councilors, state Congressmen and others marched in the parade, and local businesses were represented as well.
Cape Verdeans at the parade said people from the area and across the country travel to the city to experience the festival.
“You meet a lot of people watching the parade that you don’t see all year long,” said John Cosmo of Fairhaven, who has been attending the event with his wife Doris for about 20 years.
Saturday’s parade was one of several events happening for Cape Verdean Recognition Week, which also included an art display at the New Bedford Free Public Library, scholarship awards for students, a flag raising at City Hal, and a performance by Cape Verdean musician Mayra Andrade at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center.
The parade took a new route this year, ending at the former Morse Twist Drill parking lot between Bedford and Wing streets, where a gathering and music from the Skyliners took place.
Organizers were unable to use the Verdean Vets Hall at 561 Purchase Street because state tax officials had seized the property for nonpayment of taxes.
“That’s where usually everybody hangs out after the parade,” Meya Gunderway said of the Verdean Vets Hall. She and her boyfriend, who was part of the parade, still planned to attend the celebration at the new location, however.
“We’re going down there to see what they have going on.”
July 6, 2008

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