A statue of Christ with outstretched arms added special meaning to the moment and place, where Afro-descendant adults and children dressed in African costumes gathered for this important event to proudly display their roots.
Two hours late, the black race parade started from the Paseo Washington, where a large audience had already gathered along the sidewalks to see first-hand the beautiful costumes that decorated the evening.
Under a tropical-coastal sun, a gift from 'Father God' after two days of heavy rains so that Colon residents could have the opportunity to spend time on Sunday with family in a different way, delegations slowly began to show up.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PARADE
Those who sell informally did not let pass this opportunity to offer their merchandise, which consists of handmade items such as bracelets, arm bands, earrings and purses.
The popular Mr. T, a Colón character who annually participates in Carnivals in the province and capital city, appeared dressed in black ethnic clothing and participated in the parade that ran all along the Bolivar Avenue.
Delegations from the countries of Cameroon, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, who have been in Panama for nearly a month giving talks on the meaning behind African drums, accompanied the Colon people on this day.
Babies were the biggest attraction of the entire parade, as a float with cute girls, charming in their little black ethnic outfits, stole the applause.
POLITICIANS ACCOMPANIED THE COLON CITIZENS
Jonathan D. Farrar, the new U.S. ambassador for Panama, and his wife arrived almost unnoticed, because not even the local media knew of the diplomat's presence.
Salomón Shamah, minister of the ATP, the most anticipated member of the parade, and Guillermo Ferrufino, head of the MIDES portfolio, participated in the event, but in different delegations. Their presence even caused the delay, as people approached them to take a photo together.
The rivals of the same party, Balbina Herrera and Juan Carlos Navarro, also attended this important celebration of all afro descendants native to the Atlantic province, and arrived dressed in clothing typical of the black race, as they have done in recent years,.
AN AFTERNOON OF FOOD AND ARTISTS
The black ethnic parade ended outside the Colon Free Zone, where attendees enjoyed an afternoon of Afro-Antillean food, exhibitions of paintings by Colon artists and artistic performances.
The area designated for food vendors held huge tables with a variety of dishes, which acted as a magnet and attracted people to the point that long lines formed.
Cod cakes, 'bom', marinated fish, octopus, lobster, 'one pa', rice with crab, coconut rice or 'mommy I'm going to heaven' (banana puree with coconut water) were some of the delicious items on the gastronomic menu that Colon locals and visitors could sample after the parade.
Then it was time to enjoy the artistic portion of the afternoon, when folk groups performed square, calypso and other dances that show African heritage, in addition to reggae, which was provided by Freddy Sky and the Los Hermanos Duncan, a group that is famous in the Atlantic province.