BY SAM RAPPAPORT
Queens will host a variety of festivals in a number of neighborhoods this summer. Here’s a preview of five of the top festivals in the borough.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
The annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, which takes place on Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Aug. 11 and 12, is in its 28th year. The festival celebrates the fifth month of the lunar calendar with sporting events and traditional Chinese food and performances. More than 120 dragon boat teams from across North American compete for cash prizes, trophies and other awards. Admission to the festival is free. For more information, visit hkdbf-ny.org.
Summer Solstice Celebration
The Summer Solstice Celebration in Long Island City’s Socrates Sculpture Park honors the longest and most light-filled day of the year with art-making workshops and a selection of music and dance performances. The park’s grove of trees will turn into a communal art space. A women’s drum ensemble will beat out high-energy Afro-Brazilian rhythms. At sunset, those in attendance can gather on a hill for Urban Shaman Mama Donna’s annual waterfront Solstice ritual. For more information, visit socratessculpturepark.org. Admission is free.
Queens Pride Parade and Festival
The Queens Pride Parade and Festival in Jackson Heights is in its 26th year. The parade kicks off at noon on June 3 and runs along 37th Avenue, from 89th Street to 75th Street. The festival, located toward the end of the parade route at 75th Street and 37th Road, starts swinging at 1:30 p.m. The festival features local food vendors and community and social group booths. A festival stage will showcase talent that reflects the diversity of the community with a variety of singers, comedians, drag acts, dance groups and more. For more information, visit queenspride.org.
LIC Flea and Astoria Flea
LIC Flea and Food and Astoria Flea and Food are the largest outdoor markets in Queens and they run every month from May through October. Both markets feature a selection of curated vintage, handmade designs and artisan food vendors. This is in addition to beer gardens serving up local craft beer. LIC Flea and Food, located at 5-25 46th Ave., operates outdoors, rain or shine, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on designated weekends. The next market is set for June 9 and 10 with a special night market on July 4. The Astoria Flea and Food operates out of Kaufman Studios, located at 34-12 36th St., as a night market from 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays. The next Astoria market takes places on June 23 and 24. For more information and to view more market dates, visit licflea.com.
Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema
This is the second year for the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema. In its first year, the festival drew 3,000 visitors from around the world. A total of 157 films were presented at the Kew Gardens Cinemas and Queens Museum last year. This year, the festival’s program consists of more than 100 short and feature- length films in a wide variety of genres. Winners in each category receive more than $15,000 in sponsored prizes. The festival takes place over the course of 10 days and, in addition to film screenings, includes panel discussions featuring industry professionals and independent filmmakers. For more information, visit kewgardensfestivalofcinema.com.