21st Street Jorge Franco Grand Parade

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Calle 21 Carnaval Parade Photos by: Pacho Manrique

Text and photos by: Pacho Manrique

Clearly not as publicized and commercialized as the mainstream events of Via 40, but arguably much more democratic and authentic, the 44th St and Carrera 21st parades have something quite more appealing to regular Barranquilleros, as they near the true essence of carnival much more than their monetized counterparts, which is definitely an advantage to being disregarded by corporate sponsorship.

It’s a colorful event in which the audience joyfully watches and participates in its own way from the sidewalks, for the most part sitting on plastic chairs or on the ground, and eventually even on their own couches, brought outside in front of their home for those fortunate enough to live directly on the parade’s path.

Folkloric groups from around the Caribbean region, and even special guests from the country’s interior showcase their best dances and costumes for the viewers’ pleasure and amusement. The same traditional dances and characters displayed on Via 40 can be seen in this parade, and then some. Every dance collective or “comparsa”, as they are known, gives its best and imprints a unique trait to its presentation searching for the public’s admiration and applause, but in the end it all comes down to keeping traditions alive and celebrating life itself.

As Carnival’s most popular saying goes, ‘One must have lived it to enjoy it’, and Barranquilla Life brings you as close as possible to being there through the magic of photography.

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