Sendie Dorcelly and Whitney Brice of Mattapan and Rachel St. Fleurose of Roslindale enjoy the Tchaka Festival on Memorial Day 2015. Credit: Richard Heath.
A week after their grand Independence Day parade down Blue Hill Avenue, the Haitian community gathered in the hundreds at Jamaica Plain's Pagel Playground in the Woodbourne neighborhood for the third annual Tchaka Fest on Memorial Day.
Organized in part by Bel Mizik FM, the Haitian radio station out of Hyde Park (91.3 FM), family and friends flocked from Salem, Lynn, Everett, Mattapan, Hyde Park and Dorchester to hear DJs blast out the latest sounds, compete in soccer matches, sack races and even play musical chairs.
Businesswoman Bianca Silencieux from Salem was there with her custom made "1804 Nation" t-shirts and jewelry. 1804 is the year of Haitian Independence.
"It represented something very big for me," she said. "The date is so powerful. It was the first black nation to gain independence."
She designed the t-shirts with clenched hands as a symbol of unity and strength.
For MC DJ Babbi from Milton, Tchaka Fest was about pride: "This is for all you beautiful Haitians!"
Kevin from Hyde Park, a drummer and musician, was attending his first Tchaka Fest.
"I've always been playing on the road" on Memorial Day, he said.
Kevin was one of the four judges who rated the fierce DJ competition, one of the highlights of the afternoon event.