Thousands turn out for Central American Independence Day Parade

Posted: Updated:
BAY SHORE -

Thousands of people turned out Sunday to take part in the Central American Independence Day Parade in Bay Shore.

The 13th annual celebration made its way down Fifth Avenue. The parade celebrates Central American nations gaining independence from Spain in 1821.

The parade was filled with music and dancing, and it highlighted the culture and pride of Central America.

Business leaders say many Central Americans came to the U.S. for opportunity and to pursue the American dream. But the community is also aware of the recent gang crimes that have cast a dark shadow on their culture.

Suffolk police say in 2017, nearly 200 MS-13 gang members were arrested on Long Island. The El Salvador-based street gang has been blamed for a string of killings in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Amid the recent violence, parade-goers say events like Sunday's celebration are important and positive for their community.

About 3,000 people attended the parade.

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