2004-11-19 / Community

Local Man Shows Caribbean Designs In Macy’s Parade

Costume designer, Earl Beckles, has been selected to display six carnival costumes in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is the first time a traditional Caribbean carnival costume is featured in the parade’s 78 - year history. The parade will broadcast live on NBC, November 25 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Beckles will display Zenn, The Unholy Medicine Man along with five other characters. The presentation, entitled The Other Side of Midnight will be a rendition of ghostly and fantastical apparitions comparable to those seen in Dickens’s Christmas Carol. Zenn will represent the Grim Reaper.

Earl Beckles is head of E&J Productions, a Caribbean-American organization based in Far Rockaway, which has created costumes for Brooklyn’s Labor Day Parade annually since 1995. Beckles is well known for his elaborate and large individual costumes. Strapping a brace on the back of the handler operates the large costumes. Beckles honed his craft in Trinidad under the tutelage of his father Norman Huggins and Douglas John, the creator of Zenn.

Beckles’ costumes were featured in the Chinese New Year parade in September. In addition, the character Zenn was used to kick off last month’s Halloween parade in Greenwich Village. According to Beckles, the best thing about participating in different parades is that, “every culture is different, but the parades have one thing in common, and that’s everyone having a great time, rain or shine.”

A native of Trinidad & Tobago, home to the famous Caribbean Carnival, Beckles learned the design craft by creating costumes for thousands of carnival revelers and has almost 20 years of experience designing carnival costumes.

Participating in the renowned Macy’s parade is like a dream come true. He says, “Finally, my costumes, Caribbean costumes will be there for the whole world to see.” More than 2.5 million people line the streets to watch the parade, according to parade officials.

E& J Productions is the only organization committed to Caribbean costume designs in Far Rockaway. Headed by Earl Beckles, E&J Productions makes costumes for annual carnival competitions in Brooklyn, Miami and Trinidad. Known for elaborate King and Queen (large individual) costumes, E&J Productions has won numerous trophies for their efforts in the Brooklyn Labor Day Parade.

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