Parades and Festivals
Independence Day Festival
20, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Parade takes place from 69th to 90th streets on
Festival takes place at Festival Square in Flushing
It's only natural for the biggest parks in Queens
to host one of the biggest festivals in Queens.
On July 20, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. the Colombian
Independence Day Festival in Flushing Meadows-Corona
Park will serve up traditional food, display Columbian
dances and music, and offer good times for all.
The event is one of the largest in the park. While
it offers a homecoming of sorts for the borough's
countless Colombians, it's also a close substitute
for those looking to experience another country
without leaving home. And, so we've heard, Colombians
know how to throw a fest.
With this lively festival, the sidewalks will
surely to be packed with flag-waving Colombians
honoring the music, culture and food of the South
Every major politician makes an appearance, marching
alongside revelers and wearing a badge of Honorary
Colombian for the day as the country's yellow,
blue and red flag is waved. For those who've never
experienced a Northern Boulevard parade, the scene
can be surreal: sidewalks packed elbow to elbow
and two lanes of traffic in either direction flooded
with proud marchers and ornate floats. The only
thing louder than the music is the often-blown
whistles that seem to be a call for more enjoyment.
The dress is, as you might imagine, extremely
casual. (Flags worn as do-rags are perfectly acceptable.)
And nobody's too old for a little yellow, blue
and red face painting.
Even the Empire State Building gets into the spirit,
lighting the sky with the Colombian flag's colors.
get some drum lessons at a previous JAMS Festival.
2, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Jamaica Avenue between Parsons
Boulevard and 169th Street
The multicultural fabric of Queens emerges from
behind store counters and out of the doors of
hundreds of homes filling 10 blocks with the colors,
sounds and aromas of what it means to be from
The Jamaica Arts Music Summer (JAMS) Festival,
which attracts more than 100,000 residents and
visitors to downtown Jamaica every year, is one
of the boroughs largest vehicles for tourism,
but more importantly brings families to the street
to celebrate their cultures.
The two-day festival that revolves around a day
of multi-cultural family fun and entertainment,
begins with an Under the Stars concert at Rufus
King Park, where the dancing begins, and continues
with a view into the history of Jamaica and where
the community is heading with an emerging artist
JAMS Jazz session.
There's even one block designated for children-only,
which features free rides, popcorn, clowns, balloon
sculptors, face painters and entertainment.
10, 12 p.m
Sixth Avenue from 36th Street to 56th Street,
From the land of Puerto Plata and Pedro Martinez
comes a parade that celebrates the heritage of
the Dominican Republic. This annual parade will
take place on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan and offer
a spectacle like no other.
Dancers of all ages will groove in wild costumes
while delicious food is served, making this parade
live and breathe. Hundreds of thousands of people
congregate each summer as merengue bands pound
on drums and provocatively dressed women shake
their hips to the beat.
Relish the energy and excitement that only the
Dominican Republic can bring to the streets of
Manhattan when the sun is shining overhead.
1, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
West Indian American Day Carnival
Eastern Parkway between Utica Avenue and Flatbush
At the West Indian American Day Carnival, expect
to see a lot of scary masks and fabulous make
up jobs. Many colorful and sometimes strange characters
come out of the woodwork for this crowd participation
event. Parade-goers are advised to wear comfortable
clothing and something they don't mind getting
a little messy, as dye and powder throwing are
a frequent tradition in this parade.
It is good to attend this parade on an empty stomach.
Eastern Parkway will be lined to the hilt with
food stands with delicacies that include jerk
chicken, oxtail, macaroni pie, fried flying fish,
curry goat, coconut bread and much more.
The West Indian American Day Carnival began in
the 1940s and draws more than three million people
each year. The New York celebration is bigger
than any other West Indian celebration in the
Summer Sports Day - Playground
for All Children
July 19, 11 a.m. - 3p.m.
Playground for All Children
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Children learn basic techniques in baseball, soccer,
tennis football and basketball.
July 27 - Aug. 3
Queens Theatre in the Park
Summer Festival at Ozone
Aug. 13, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Loring Field North Conduit at 149th Avenue
Enjoy a free day of arts & crafts, inflatable
rides, face painting, music and games.
Summer Fun Day!
With Puppets in the Park
Sat. Aug. 16, 4 p.m.
Puppets in the Park present Cinderella Samba with
puppet making workshop to follow.
Hosts July Gospelfest
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
in conjunction with Councilman Thomas White (D-Jamaica)
and gospel radio station 1190 WLIB have joined
together to bring the third annual Southern Queens
Gospelfest to Jamaica this July.
The Gospelfest will take place from 3 to 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 26 at Baisley Pond Park on Rockaway
Boulevard between Sutphin and Baisley Boulevard.
The event will be a day filled with gospel music
and family fun, featuring arts and crafts, face
painting and even boating on Baisley Pond. The
performers will include Brother Al Smith, Destiny
and the Mount Horeb Dance Ministry of Corona.
The individuals responsible for the coordination
of this year's Gospelfest hold a vested interest
in promoting cultural events in the area - as
has been demonstrated by their commitment to the
continuation and promotion of community initiatives
over the years.
A native of South Jamaica, White has been involved
in local outreach efforts such as this summer's
Gospelfest for over 30 years. His work as both
an advocate and developer has contributed significantly
to the continuation of local programs to support
senior citizens, job training, crime prevention
and drug and alcohol treatment centers. Recently,
White has been behind other summer programs such
as free golf and tennis lessons for local youth
at Baisley Park.
His idea to hold a Gospelfest in Baisley Park
began as a mix of keen observation and creativity.
White sits on the New York City Cultural Arts
Committee. It was there he discovered that District
28 - which includes Jamaica, Rochdale Village
and Richmond Hill - had only one city-funded arts
program for a community of around 158,000 people,
a truth he quickly vowed to change.
Events Coordinator Audrey Lucas noted that White
was also concerned by the lack of people spending
time at parks in the area. "We have beautiful
parks out here and they were just empty," she
said. In turn, White began to brainstorm about
events that could be brought to parks like Baisley
in order to draw attention to the area.
Lucas explained that the combination of these
realizations led White to develop ideas to bring
more cultural activities and arts programs to
the area. "It is essential for the quality of
life in the community to support the arts," Lucas
Gospelfest was first held in Baisley Park in 2006.
The daylong event serves to highlight local gospel
performers while bringing the community together
for a day of music, games and spirituality.
One gospel singer who will be performing this
July is Brother Al Smith, representing the New
Jerusalem Baptist Church. The church, known affectionately
by congregants as "The Church That Faith Is Building,"
is an integral part of the spiritual community
The New Jerusalem Baptist Church is described
on their web site as a religious institution committed
to following the biblical principles of a "Five-Fold
Ministry," notably - "fellowship, discipleship,
worship, evangelism and ministry."
Beyond what the church offers to members of the
religious community in Jamaica, The New Jerusalem
Baptist Church supports local residents by holding
cooking and wellness classes, tutorial sessions,
bible study and leadership seminars.
Individuals interested in learning more about
the third annual Southern Queens Gospelfest should
contact the Department of Parks & Recreation at
(718) 520-5914, or are invited to visit their
web site, at www.nycgovparks.org.