Calendar of Ethnic Festivals

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National Heritage Folkloric Festival
Bohemian Hall
Queens 29-19 24 Ave Astoria, Queens
Second Sunday in June from 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Astoria, 27B09 Crescent Street
This festival showcases the folklore of Cyprus and Greece through unique and exciting performances of traditional dance and song in the Bohemian Hall. The event’s social context is Turkey’s conquest of Cyprus and the subsequent exile of many Cypriots.

For more information: Cypriot Emigrants Cultural Organization of America, 718-626-7896,

last update: 9/2003

National Puerto Rican Day Parade
Second Sunday in June
Fifth Avenue, from 44th to 86th Streets 10:00am- 4:00pm

In a grand show of solidarity within New York’s Puerto Rican community, this parade is one of the city’s best loved and one of the world’s largest. The red, white, and blue flags seem to blanket the city, and the revelry can be felt far beyond Fifth Avenue. The spectacle features marching bands and drill teams, dance groups, and costumes in a lavish celebration of the homeland. Floats depicting images of Puerto Rican towns are followed by town residents, with the local beauty queen riding atop. Celebrity guests, local politicians and dignitaries are joined by Puerto Rican delegates and mayors from several of the Island’s cities.

For more information: National Puerto Rican Day Parade,, 718-401-0404.

last update: 9/2003

Tribute to the Ancestors of the Middle Passage
Second Saturday in June, noon-7 pm
Coney Island Boardwalk and Beach at 16th St.

In a moving ceremony of collective memory, thousands of African-Americans gather oceanside to pay homage to those who died during the infamous slave-ship voyages known as the Middle Passage. At exactly noon, simultaneously with other Tributes to the Ancestors being held elsewhere in the globe, there will be the pouring of the libation and a special drumming tribute by numerous drummers and musicians along with tributes of poetry, dance, and dramatization of the slaves’ capture. A formal procession to the ocean is followed by a sundown Ancestral Offering as the Ancestral Drummers lead us to the water’s edge where we each place flowers into the Atlantic Ocean, the largest African burial ground in the world.

Messages from Christian and Muslim leaders honor the ancestors and call for pledges of unity and safety in African-American communities. As one of the first desegregated public beaches, Coney Island’s stretch of the Atlantic is an especially symbolic place to “mark the bones” of those Africans lost to the sea. Participants are invited to bring flowers for the Ancestral Offering and a drum, shekere, or other musical instrument to give praise.

For more information: Tribute to the Ancestors of the Middle Passage,, Akeem,, 718-270-4902, Habte Selassie,

last update: 9/2003


Mermaid Parade
Closest Saturday to the First Day of Spring, 2 pm
Coney Island, Surf Avenue

Begun in 1982 by artists celebrating Coney Island and ocean mythology, this parade has become a fabled event in the roster of New York City festivals. Fanciful, often outrageous costumes of mermaids and other creatures of the sea fill the streets on foot and on floats, while marching bands and antique cars provide a conventional side to this celebration of the summer solstice. King Neptune and Queen Mermaid preside in Brooklyn’s own version of Mardi Gras with good, clean debauchery!

For more information:, Coney Island USA, 718/372B5159.

last update: 9/2003

San Juan Bautista Fiesta
Sunday closest to June 24, 10 am-6 pm
Battery Park

The great outdoor mass that defines this festival evolves from the first ethnic mass given by St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Since 1952, San Juan Bautista, the patron saint of Puerto Rico has been celebrated on a large scale, as a demonstration of new immigrants’ struggle to retain the religious traditions of their homeland. Today the festival is a mix of sacred and secular traditions. Battery Park becomes Puerto Rico for a day; food and music abound; children run and play, and everyone dances. At one o’clock the formal procession of the statue of the Saint begins followed by a mass given in Spanish to an eager crowd. Afterward, a giant piñata is ceremoniously broken by and the festivities continue until nightfall.

For more information: Office for Hispanic Affairs of the Archdiocese of New York, 212-371-1000 x2982.

last update: 9/2003

Caribbean Cultural Heritage Festival
Fourth Sunday of June, 12 am-6 pm
Prospect Park, Lincoln Road entrance, Nether Mead

Ethnic cuisine is a priority at this celebration of the shared heritage of French, English, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries. Roti, curries, oxtail, pelau, jerk dishes, pillouri, black cake, sugar cane and Caribbean-style Chinese food are just a few of the dishes available in and around stages of continuous live music. Outdoor workshops on Caribbean culture are held early in the day, and entertainment prevails in the afternoon and evening, when the music, dance, and camaraderie of thousands of Caribbean-Americans turn the area into “the islands.”

For more information: VIDCAT, 718-338-9120,

last update: 9/2003

New York City Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Pride March
Last Sunday in June, noon-early evening
52nd St. and Fifth Ave. to Greenwich Village

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender New Yorkers, their friends, families, and supporters, march in a moving show of unity that is at times wild and raucous, at others somber and serious. Organizations such as Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, People with Aids Coalition, and the Lesbian and Gay Community Center, among others, march among glittering floats to the beat of fabulous music. The celebratory march ends at Christopher Street with a festival and dance at the Hudson River Waterfront. Other events occur during Pride week as listed on the website.

For more information:, Heritage Pride, Inc. 212-807-7433

last update: 9/2003


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