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Randall Ketchapaw, 33, of Wayland has walked it every year since 1991 and is passing the tradition on to the next generation.

“My son here started when he was 3 months old,” Mr. Ketchapaw said. “This is his sixth walk. Sixth stroll, I should say.”

Along the streets of New York City’s borough of Brooklyn, people waved flags from their front stoops, drumbeats filled the air and women in brightly colored sequined costumes and feather headdresses danced to reggae music in the West Indian Day Parade.

The festive climate prevailed a year after violence marred the annual celebration of the culture of the Caribbean islands. In 2011, a bystander was killed by a stray bullet hours after the parade when police fired on an armed suspect.

About 20 Occupy Wall Street protesters were told they had to leave the parade in the middle of the route because they did not have a permit. They ended up briefly standing off to the side of the street surrounded by police.