The streets around Grove Hall, at the intersection of Boston's Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods, were filled with people and music Saturday for Carnival, the city's annual Caribbean parade.

It was an exuberant embrace of Caribbean culture and people.

As masqueraders, my friend and I got all dressed up in colorful, bejeweled costumes to join the fun and dance our way along the route. We were led by the local band Boston Socaholics, who blasted music from their truck as we marched behind them.

The parade has been happening every year since 1973, with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic. It began when businessman and radio host Ken Bonaparte Mitchell brought some traditions from Trinidad, where he was born, to the streets of Boston, with help from his friend and parade cofounder Ivy Ponder.

A Black woman with a red-and-blue Haitian flag top, wearing a Haitian flag as a cape, on a crowded street,
A woman waved a Haitian flag at Boston Carnival on Aug. 27, 2022
Jacob Garcia GBH News

It was to honor Caribbean people, who make up the largest share of Boston’s immigrant population and have had a significant presence in the region since the early 20th century.

This year’s festivities did not come without a bit of controversy, as a rift emerged between some of the bands and others who participate in Carnival and its governing body, the Caribbean American Carnival Association of Boston. But as CACAB President Shirely Shillingford told me when I saw her along the route the day of the parade, it boiled down to being in community.

A woman in an orange dress and white fringed mask covering her eyes holds a sign reading "Save Boston Carnival."
A celebrant held a sign reading "Save Boston Carnival" at the 2022 parade.
Jacob Garcia GBH News

“It’s wonderful, despite the insurrections,” she said. “[There’s] nothing like community, in spite of everything.”

Another attendee, named Gino, was there as part of an annual tradition.

“Everybody here is family,” he said. “You from an Island, you're family. It’s a culture. You’ve got to come out for the culture."

Following the parade was a festival in Franklin Park featuring music and dozens of vendors.

On Sunday, the celebration made its way to Worcester for its Carnival, and Cambridge will hold its festivities on Sept. 11

A Black woman wearing a shiny top, orange feathers, and colorful shiny headband poses with her arm out, holding a yellow water bottle.
GBH Morning Edition Co-Host Paris Alston marched in the 2022 Boston Carnival.
Jacob Garcia GBH News