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West Indian American Parade Collects Apparently $300 Million In Revenue

NEW YORK — We’ll see beautiful costumes, vibrant colors, floats, music and dancing at Monday’s West Indian American Day Parade , but you may not realize how much money the celebration of culture brings in every year.

The party on the parkway has already started, and so has the bustling business.

“I’m selling the flags for the country, to represent,” said Kwame Maloney, one of the dozens of vendors selling island swag. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years.”

Maloney’s son was at his side.

“I’ve been doing this with Dad since before I was a teenager,” said Kaheim Maloney. “Sometimes he needs help. Say he wants to go to use the bathroom or get something to eat, I’ll be here to hold it down for him, just for someone to be by his side.”

They said they make around $7,000 every year during the carnival season in New York City , even after their permit and paying up to $1,000 for a prime spot along Eastern Parkway.

“This money helps me out. I got kids and they go back to school. So this money helps me out to buy them school clothes,” said Maloney.

They weren’t the only family duo getting people ready for the West Indian American Day Parade on Monday.

“I love it. I love to do this,” said Evelyn Cooper.

Cooper, 74, sells sweets and homemade food like bake and saltfish. Her son sells fresh vegetables.

“I grow my own stuff in the garden. I have about five acres,” said Junior Cooper.

The flags, clothes, accessories and food aren’t the only money makers for the high-energy parade on Labor Day.

“The West Indian Day Parade actually nets $300 million in revenue for the city. It’s actually considered the largest economic parade in North America,” said New York State Assembly Member Brian Cunningham, who is Caribbean.

Cunningham said it’s about more than the festivities and pageantry.

“When you think about how many folks travel here, stay in hotels here, purchase food here, purchase costumes, it’s really a big driver for us,” said Cunningham.

It also gives tens of thousands of people a taste of the Caribbean right here in Brooklyn .

“A lot of people want to represent for Labor Day. We help out,” said Kaheim Maloney.

Vendors said they prepare for this season year round and look forward to embracing their culture while earning some cash.

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