UPDATED JUNE 2017: Part of what makes New York City great is that it is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. Almost every week it seems as if another cultural group is taking to the streets to celebrate. Check out this list of 2017's list of cultural events and festivals in NYC and the surrounding area, and get to celebrating with your family!
Cultural Events in June
National Puerto Rican Day Parade
Sunday, June 11, 11am-5pm
Fifth Avenue between 44th and 79th Streets, Manhattan
The annual parade celebrates Puerto Rican culture, heritage, and its contribution to the United States. This year’s honorees—leaders, educators, artists, and celebrities that have made their mark on the nation—are actress Jeimy Osorio, singer Bobby Cruz, singer Iris Chacon, and Olympic gold medal gymnast Laurie Hernandez, plus Grand Marshal Gilberto Santa Rosa, a salsa singer known as “The Gentleman of Salsa”.
Swedish Midsummer Festival
Friday, June 23, 5-8pm
Robert F. Wagner Park and Pier A Plaza, Battery Park City, Manhattan
Celebrate some Swedish heritage and tradition in Battery Park. Families are welcome to picnic in the grass, help decorate the midsummer pole, make flower wreaths, dance, play games, and listen to authentic fiddle music. The festival occurs rain or shine, so be sure to make plans to enjoy the day no matter what!
Cultural Events in July
International African Arts Festival
July 1-4, Saturday-Tuesday, 10am-9pm
Commodore Barry Park, Navy Street between Park and Flushing avenues, Brooklyn
Suggested donation: $5; $2 children
Formerly called the African Street Festival, this event began in 1971 as a small block party. It’s now a huge celebration for African culture. There will be vendor booths for crafts, clothing, art, books, and more, as well as food and entertainment for the whole family, including a poetry show, fashion show, Akorm Ceremony, chess tournament, dance workshops, kids play area, and African world music.
Sunday, July 9, 12-5pm
East 60th Street between Fifth and Lexington avenues, Manhattan
Celebrate French culture in NYC with the family. There will be cancan dancers, mimes, and music along with French delicacies and patisserie to indulge in, as well as cheese and wine, beer, and cocktails (for the adults of course). There’s even a special kids’ corner with activities including face painting and arts and crafts.
Annual Grand Mid-Summer Pow Wow
July 28-30, Friday, 6-10pm, Saturday 10am-10pm, and Sunday, 10am-5pm
Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens
Admission: $10; $5 children 12 and younger; weekend pass: $16; $7 children 12 and younger
Come to the 54th celebration of The Thunderbird American Indian Dancers at NYC’s oldest and largest powwow! More than 40 Indian nations will be represented, along with traditional clothing, dancing, bon fires, music, and more. There will also be arts and crafts, jewelry, and delicious food to eat.
July 30-Aug. 26
Visit harlemweek.com for schedule of events and locations
Although the event is called Harlem Week, the festivities span almost a month to celebrate local culture and history. There are a variety of events scheduled including live music, The Hip Hop Film Festival, children’s festival, education fair, outdoor film festival, an auto show, tennis clinics, a 5K run/walk, and an economic development day.
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Cultural Events in August
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
Aug. 12-13, Saturday-Sunday; schedule TBA
Flushing Meadows Park, Queens
Watch as teams from around the world compete in this traditional Chinese summer event. Along with the racing boats, families can enjoy multicultural artists and traditional music and dance from around the globe, plus a food court that offers a variety of tasty treats.
Fiesta in America
Aug. 12-13, Saturday-Sunday,
Meadowlands Expo Center, Secaucus, NJ
Fiesta in America is a blend of trade and cultural expo that helps Filipino businesses get a foothold in the mainstream consumer market. For the past 19 years, the expo has celebrated Filipinos and their culture. The trade pavilion features businesses, the food court offers a variety of Filipino foods, and the children’s pavilion give kids the opportunity to learn about Philippine folklores, crafts, and dances. Plus, there will be music and comedy.
India Day Parade
Sunday, Aug. 20; parade: 12-3pm, food court and merchant booths: 11am-6pm, cultural programs: 2:30-6pm
Madison Avenue, from 38th to 26th streets, Manhattan
Celebrate India’s vast culture and heritage right here in New York at what is touted as the world’s largest India Day Parade. The parade will feature floats, music, and dancing in traditional garb. At the end of the parade, visitors can enjoy Indian food or purchase goods at one of the many booths set up as well as cultural programs for all ages.
41st Annual Brighton Jubilee
Sunday, Aug. 27, 10am-6pm
Brighton Beach, Brooklyn
A Brooklyn tradition that celebrates the borough's diversity, this multi-block festival features entertainment, live music, kid rides, delicious food booths, and local merchandise.
New York Renaissance Faire
Aug. 5-Oct. 1, Saturday-Sunday and Labor Day, 10am-7pm
600 Rte. 17A, Tuxedo Park, NY
Take a step back in time to Elizabethan England for 16th century-style games, rides, crafts, music, dance, and tasty food. See knights in shining armor and old time costumes. Shop in the artisan market to take some of the fun home with you. Each weekend is themed, including Kids Admitted Free, Celtic, Time Travelers, Pirates, and Masquerade weekends.
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Cultural Events in September
Sunday, Sept. 3; schedule TBA
West 46th Street, Little Brazil, Manhattan
The festival and outdoor concert celebrating Brazil’s Independence Day started as a small group of Brazilians who wanted to celebrate the holiday. It now spans 25 blocks. There will be traditional food to eat along with lively dancing, music, and celebration for all ages. The costumes will delight and the festivities will go on all day long.
1776 Peace Conference House Celebration
Saturday, Sept. 9, 11am-4pm
Conference House Museum, 7455 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island
Celebrate American history and culture with the family in Staten Island. See re-enactments of historical moments, take a house tour, and dabble in crafting of years ago. There will be colonial-style dancing and food as well as special activities for the kids.
The Great Irish Fair
Saturday, Sept. 16; mass: 10am, ceremony: 11am, entertainment: 12pm (schedule TBA)
Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk, 3052 W. 21st St., Brooklyn
General admission: $20; VIP: $45; free for children younger than 14
Celebrate Irish-American culture and heritage with traditional and contemporary Irish music, food and pubs, Irish dancing, Irish goods, and activities for children.
33rd Annual Medieval Festival
Sunday, Oct. 1, 11:30am-6pm
Fort Tryon Park, Broadway to the Hudson River, Manhattan
Go back to the Middle Ages at this annual festival sure to delight kids and adults of all ages. Wander through the medieval market town and see performers in period dress, along with magic acts, dancing, juggling, and even jousting on horseback. There will be medieval food, drinks, and crafts to enjoy. Don’t forget to dress in your medieval best!
Viva! Latino Film Festival NYC Int’l.
Film schedule and locations TBA
With the mission of educating and advancing the public’s understanding and appreciation of Latin culture and film, the festival features films from emerging and established Latino filmmakers from the U.S., Spain, Mexico, and Latin America. Films range from shorts, documentaries, and music videos to animation, features, and web series.
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Cultural Events in October
Columbus Day Parade
Monday, Oct. 9
Fifth Avenue, from 47th to 72nd streets, Manhattan
Celebrate Columbus’ journey to finding America along with thousands of visitors and parade participants. There will be more than 100 bands and floats, including high-school bands, professional groups, and traditional dances. This parade is the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American and Italian culture.
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