KIDS ON PARADE Get jump on grownups By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, TARA GEORGE and DON SINGLETON, Daily News Staff Writers

Sunday, August 31, 1997

Eastern Parkway boomed with Caribbean music and bloomed with bouquets of colorful feathers and flowers yesterday in a warmup for tomorrow’s 30th West Indian American Day Carnival Parade.

It was Children’s Day, and thousands of youngsters paraded up the broad thoroughfare in costumes that were smaller versions of the ones their parents, uncles and aunts will be wearing tomorrow. Everywhere you looked, folks were dancing to reggae and calypso and soca beats.

“The adults are going to have their parade Monday, but today’s our day,” said Dennis White, 18, who was dancing with a group of relatives at Eastern Parkway and Kingston Ave. “It’s a chance for us to show pride in our West Indian culture.”

Andrew McKenzie, 38, of Jackson, N.J., was standing with his daughters, Melissa, 5, and Kimberly, 6, who were dressed as queens of Sheba with gold crowns and lots of gold glitter.

As Melissa’s mom encouraged her to dance, her dad beamed with pride and moved to the beat of the music. “This is my culture,” he said. “I did this myself, and I want my kids to enjoy it, too.”

Iwojima Lewis, 49, was there with his 7-year-old twin daughters, Vanessa and Denise. Vanessa was having a ball. “I love the costumes,” her mom said, “and I love to see the children in a parade. It’s good to know where you come from and hear all the different music.”

More than 2 million people are expected to turn Eastern Parkway into a sea of color and calypso tomorrow in one of the city’s largest annual events.

“This is what we live for,” said performer Harriet James, 38, of Queens. “This is carnival!”

Months of planning and rehearsing will bear fruit as thousands of dancers in sequins and feathers sashay to the pulsating sounds of steel and brass bands.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. at the corner of Utica Ave. and Eastern Parkway. Floats will move west down the parkway to Grand Army Plaza, where they will turn onto Flatbush Ave. and proceed to the finish at Empire Blvd.

Original Story Date: 083197