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Dominican culture fills Grand Concourse for annual parade

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GRAND CONCOURSE, The Bronx — The red, white and blue of the Dominican Republic covered the Grand Concourse in the Bronx this afternoon. Mayor Bill de Blasio was among those kicking off the 1.5 mile-long parade.

Floats, characters in costume, dancers moving to drum beat and of course lots of Dominican music filled the streets.

“Now you’re gonna see the Dominican community!” shouted Vanessa Jiminez, who came out with her mother-in-law.

“She is from the Dominican Republic and she wants to see Kinito Mendez,” said Jiminez, who was dressed in Dominican colors and proud to show her mother-in-law how many turn out for the parade each year.

“She didn’t think there was so many Dominicans here. I was like oh, yeah!” she exclaimed.

Men in large, colorful costumes walked over to the barricades and picked up babies for pictures. Others carried whips. People on floats gave away free water bottles, t-shirts and candies. Jennifer Sepulveda, who brought her two sons to see the parade, said she wants them to soak it all in.

“I want to make sure they learn about where they come from, their roots,” said Sepulveda, “We just want them to keep the music, the culture, the language and everything alive.”

There are over 200,000 people living in the Bronx of Dominican heritage.