Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights was lined with bright yellow, blue and red flags on Sunday, as officials and locals celebrated the 16th Annual Colombian Independence Day Parade. NY1's Tanya Klich filed this report.
The sounds of cumbia and salsa filled the air during the 16th Annual Colombian Independence Day Parade in Jackson Heights on Sunday.
More than 1,000 thousand attendees came out to celebrate the occasion.
"I love the colors, the people are amazing, the music is amazing,” said one young attendee who was visiting from Colombia.
"There's a large Colombian population in Jackson Heights,” said Queens Councilman Daniel Dromm. “We celebrate them, we honor them, and we're here to march with the Colombian population today. Que viva la Colombia!"
Local officials and law enforcement kicked off the parade at 69th Street and Northern Boulevard, the parade ended at 86th Street.
The lineup also included participants who were there to celebrate the country’s love of sports, music and dance.
"We love life we love celebrating family and diversity," said Daniel Villa of Jackson Heights.
“Oh God, this is my country, so I'm happy to see Independence Day here in New York,” said Jackson Heights resident Johnatan Pineda, who moved to NYC from Bogota.
“This is an annual event that brings together a whole bunch of different folks from the community,” said Queens Borough
President Melinda Katz. “We celebrate together, we have a parade together, we dance together.”
Others say while Columbia as a country has enjoyed its independence for more than 200 years, there is still progress to be made as the government continues to negotiate a peace deal with rebel groups.
“It's become a very big tourist destination now, where people are really going there seeing peace. There's no longer fear in going to that country that has so much to offer,” said State Assemblyman Francisco Moya.
Those who live and work in Jackson Heights say the celebration also speaks volumes about diversity of their neighborhood.
“Queens being so diverse, so it's wonderful to come out and see another factor of it,” said Michael Phillips.
Aside from the parade, those who wanted to learn more about Colombian culture could always visit one of many authentic eateries in the Little Colombia section of Jackson Heights.