The annual Ethnic Festival attracts thousands of area residents and visitors to East Harlem each year where a unique meeting of cultures come together through music, dance, arts and crafts, ethnic cuisine, and educational activities for all ages.
From the twirling batons of the New York Stars Marching Majorettes that kick off the day-long event to the closing salsa strains of Zon del Barrio’s dance rhythms celebrating fifty years of Latin music with special guest, Fania All-Star Alum Nicky Marrero, we’ve got the world on our main stage: With Bolly Arts Bollywood Dance and Alabedra Flamenco Fusion as part of this year’s festival, the 23rd is a testament to the power of the pueblo. From past stellar performances from the likes of tap dance legend Savion Glover, boogaloo king Joe Bataan, on to the Boricua-roots music of the Grammy-nominated Pleneros de la 21, and performances from the National Jazz Museum of Harlem, the Harambee African Dance Company, the AUC Chinese Lion Dancers, Belly Dancers, Salsa, Flamenco, hip-hop dancers and spoken word poets, this party has something for everyone.
The Power of Art pavilion features a Mini Museum Mile where visitors explore exhibits and create art with teaching artists from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio,The Jazz Museum in Harlem, the New York Transit Museum and the Museum of the City of New York. The latter will be exhibiting pieces from their current Hip Hop Revolution show, featuring the work of local photographers Joe Conzo, Jr., Janette Beckman and Martha Cooper. Young children have opportunities to encounter nature on a pony ride or through the NY-Wild Traveling Zoo with its boa constrictors and baby alligators.
The Power of Craft area empowers the mind to stitch its way to wellness with knitting & Crochet or bead Jewelry making. The Power of Informed Eating pavilion will feature cooking demonstrations and tastings on good food choices by SMART University, Urban Farms at Randall’s Island, ShopHealthy NYC, and fresh food offerings from area restaurants such as power juices from Natural Essentials (The Juice Ninja), smoothies from Blue Coco, and a Mac & Cheese Bar by Clean Plate Co. The Power of Exercise takes the crowd through the joys of ZUMBA, Tai Chi, karate and Soul Line Dancing on the main stage.
This year’s stunning theme art was created especially for the 2015 Ethnic Festival by prominent East Harlem artist Manny Vega, and truly captures the fun, multi-cultural and family-oriented spirit of East Harlem and of the Festival.
The place where actor and East Harlemite Burt Lancaster learned the gymnastics that got him into Hollywood, Union Settlement has been empowering “El Barrio” since 1895. One of the oldest and largest social service agencies in New York City, Union Settlement serves well over 10,000 clients from the greater East Harlem community annually through its various programs. Its fifteen locations in East Harlem are filled daily with a constellation of clients and students from many countries who represent a global spectrum of backgrounds, languages and cultures from the children who attend its seven Childcare/Head Start Centers to the seniors that visit its four Senior Centers.
The Ethnic Festival began in 1991 as a small cultural event organized by Union Settlement’s Adult Education Program. The goal was to engage students in a presentation of local music and dance. It has since evolved into an all-day event where hundreds of guests from all over the New York metropolitan area enjoy music & dance performances on an outdoor stage, shop for handicrafts & ethnic merchandise from vendors on the street and sample a wide variety of traditional cuisines. Guests from ages 5 to 85 take part in free art, literature and sports activates such as a basketball tournament, a Maker Fair and a wild animal exhibit.
Saturday, May 16th, 2015
11 am – 5 pm
East 104th Street (between Second and Third Avenues, New York, NY 10029