Santo Domingo Carnaval 2008

Trip Start Oct 16, 2007
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Trip End May 09, 2008


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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Sunday, March 2, 2008

Wow, what a way to end our stay in the Dominican Republic!  Today was our last day in the DR and we checked out the Santo Domingo Carnaval (Carnival) Parade.  Check out video here

When we arrived in Santo Domingo around noon, we saw many people crammed in cars with costumes or walking down the street towards the Malecon.  The event started at 3pm and was dedicated to the "Los Lechones de Santiago" (the pigs of Santiago) and closed the 2008 carnaval.  There were people in the carnaval parade representing around "180 provincial areas" in the DR.  At least that's what I interpreted from reading a local article.  It also said that they invited a group from Aruba to participate in the celebration.

There were tons of street vendors selling the usual treats, toys, food and drinks.  What made us feel this was going to be pretty darn big was that the Malecon was closed off to all traffic, and green metal barricades lined the streets to keep the onlookers off the streets.  There were also tons of police/security guys coming in by the truckloads through the Malecon.

The floats and costumes were really elaborate and colorful!  It was great seeing them come through the street.  We noticed however that the earlier groups didn't have many participants, so they looked quite spread out in the street (the Malecon is quite a wide avenue).  Also, it was extremely hot and sunny, so many of the participants also looked worn out by the time they got where we were, a little past half-way on the parade path.  I felt bad for them, especially for those people that were under many heavy layers of their costume! 

The sidewalk was packed with spectators.   We were getting pushed around by people trying to get by us.  A policeman was nice enough to tell us to climb over the barricades, and stay on the street where the parade was, so we'd be away from the crowds.  He said he would also keep an eye out for us so nobody steals our cameras.  That was super nice of him!  We were thrilled to be closer to the parade and away from the crowds.

It started to get dark around 7pm or so and the parade was still going strong.  Although the police tried to keep people from standing and leaning against the metal fencing, some parts of the fence occasionally collapsed, with some people falling down into the street!  We saw one guy getting arrested for causing some type of commotion too.

Near the parade finale, all hell broke loose.  People knocked over the metal railings, and were pouring into the streets towards the main stage area.  Some police tried to make a stand locking their arms together, but it was no use.  People kept pouring through the main stage area, especially to get a better look at the fireworks that closed the ceremony.  With the fireworks, the confetti being thrown everywhere, and the chaos in the streets, it turned out to be a pretty fun and interesting night. 
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