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When Holding a Colorful Broadway Parade, Please Invite Downtown

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Monday, October 13, 2008, at 02:55PM
head dress Ed Fuentes

The crowd favorite was this headdress, defly handled despite the light breeze.

Downtowners may have mostly noticed the traffic impacts, but Sunday's Desfile de la Hispanidad en Los Angeles offered colorful sights on Broadway.

We would love to tell you exactly what the parade was for, but the official website is only in Spanish and organizer All Access Entertainment only says that the parade was "an international and multicultural celebration drawing huge numbers of your Latino customers."

Parade organizer All Access is the company that produces Fiesta Broadway and El Grito. For each of its Latino-targeted events, the company's website offers plenty of sponsorship information, but very little geared toward the general public.

It was for another reason altogether that I was on the DD DASH when I saw east-west traffic being detoured down Spring and decided to investigate.

Shoppers on Broadway and local loft dwellers had little clue what was going on, yet later the sidewalks developed a crowd to watch the parade. The day's bright sun and clear sky provided a perfect showcase for colorful folk costumes.

Many Latino countries were represented, including Brazil, Mexico, Panama, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. Organizers seemed to have made an effort to see that everyone was invited, including East Los Angeles. The Mexican-American enclave, often bypassed by events that highlight direct indigenous roots, was represented by the Roosevelt High School band who marched in between countries.

The lines of dancers in costume were a great change from the many protests that make their way up Broadway. The event was more appealing than Fiesta Broadway's block party, these days little more than lines of people getting free consumer samples.

And if I am allowed to dream on a long weekend; in a city that boasts cultural diversity, why isn't there a parade that gives everyone a chance to be represented on one day, on one street? Parades are segregated. There is no Cultural Diversity March that has, say, two entries from the best of L.A.'s ethnic and holiday parades.

Think of Ondo dancers from Little Tokyo, dragons from Chinatown, a jazz marching band from South Central added to floats from East Los Angeles and Hollywood's Holiday parade followed by a contingency from the Public Service Officer-themed St. Patricks Day Parade –– all joining this small parade that shows off Latino diversity.

Not only would it be about celebrating ethnic influences, but also about having a shared cultural heritage of being an Angeleno during a time when L.A. is beginning to have its own sense of history. Take it to Broadway, in October under bright clear skies with a touch of a Santa Ana wind in the air.

But please, to whomever may organize the Bringing Back Broadway Festival of Diverse Angelenos Parade, give Downtowners plenty of advance notice. I'm sure they would appreciate it.

And Downtowners, note that the Panamanian Independence Day Parade heads up Broadway this Saturday, October 18. Consider yourself warned, and invited.

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