The annual West Indian Day Parade came with a side of politics as candidates for mayor took advantage of the huge audience to make their case for a few extra votes.
Political candidates for a variety of offices celebrated West Indian pride and culture along Eastern Parkway. They marched through some of the neighborhoods most affected by crime, stop and frisk and a challenging economy.
Fox 5 caught up with the major mayoral candidates and asked them what they’re offering voters in next week’s primary election.
Front runner and current Public Advocate Bill de Blasio walked the parade route with his wife, whose family comes from Barbados and their two children.
"I'd say we need to break from the Bloomberg years and we need progressive change and we can’t keep waiting to make the changes we need to make – and I’m ready to make the change,” said de Blasio.
City Council Speaker Christie Quinn, who would become the first woman mayor if elected, did the parade route with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and reggae star Maxi Priest.
"I’m the only progressive in this race with a vision to keep our city safe without violating constitutional rights, with a vision to make housing affordable, with a vision to make our schools better and I’m the only progressive to deliver in all of those areas," said Quinn.
Bill Thompson’s supporters were ready to march but he appeared to miss the start of the parade and had to catch up. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner tried to move beyond past scandals and appear directly to the crowd, even rocking out on top of his float.
"If they want someone from a municipal government that’s been doing things the same way making the same promises, don’t vote for me. But if you want someone to campaign based on ideas, I’m the choice and I appreciate the change,” said Weiner.
Other candidates didn’t let low poll numbers dampen their enthusiasm or confidence. City Comptroller John Liu hugged supporters and made a bold prediction.
"A lot of people are in for a big surprise. Just like they were in 2009 when the so-called experts said I didn’t have a chance to become Comptroller," said Liu.
Fomer MTA Chairman and Deputy Mayor Joe Lhota was the sole Republican at this major event.
“I love being out here I mean, the Caribbean-American community needs to be celebrated. They are unbelievably entrepreneurial, they’re starting small businesses all over the city. I want to be the mayor that helps them grow and expand all of their businesses. I like the diversity of New York -- that’s why I’m here,”
Lhota is ahead of his Republican rival, John Castimitides. Fox 5 didn’t see him there, but his spokesperson said he was at other Labor Day Parades in more heavily Republican areas.
The primary election for both parties is September 10.