BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning’s (JCAL) Queens International Children’s Festival is back by popular demand for its third year.
The Queens International Children’s Festival is a two-day family event that brings arts, performances and crafts to Downtown Jamaica. This year’s festival will feature performances and cultural partners that will provide hands-on activities for the entire family.
“This is a place-making project that aims to make JCAL and JPAC a cultural destination by creating programs that can bring families, professional, and residents together to enjoy cultural activities,” said JCAL Executive Director Cathy Hung.
Festivities will begin on June 16 at 12 p.m. The Lunettes will kick off the event with their original Queen[s] Bee play. The play is about bee trainers Bibi and Polli, who guide their hive as they train in preparation to meet their fearless leader, the Queen Bee. During this performance, families will become part of the bee colony.
The next hour will consist of live performances from Queens-based dance companies and children from JCAL’s after school program.
At 2 p.m., families can enjoy an hour of laughter and imagination during the “Story Pirates Greatest Hits Show,” which celebrates creative writing by students from across the nation in a sketch comedy musical that will be performed by professional actors and musicians.
The Bangladesh Institute for Performing Arts (BIPA) will take the stage at 3 p.m. for a musical and dance presentation by its performers.
Saturday’s festivities will conclude with the New York Hall of Science’s Bounce, Balance and Play program, which will teach the crowd about balance and energy during interactive activities.
On June 17, the festival will begin at 12 p.m. with Prototype Music Performers, which provides music, dance and community involvement for Southeast Queens.
JCAL’s Ifetayo Youth Ensemble (IYE) will follow at 1 p.m. with an artistic performance that touches on social justice issues.
Sonny Joseph, a multicultural performer and cultural advocate, will take the stage at 2 p.m. for a Bollywood and Bhangra performance that shows how hip hop moves are incorporated into South Asian dance.
On Sunday, which is Father’s Day, The Rally Cat Song workshop will allow children to create a song dedicated to their fathers alongside the Rally Cat Band. The workshop begins at 3 p.m.
The New York Hall of Science will again conclude the day’s festivities, presenting The Eyes Have It, which will allow families to conduct investigations on depth perception, use color filters to make 3-D glasses and create their own optical illusion toy.
The festival is supported by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, City Council members I. Daneek Miller (D-St.Albans), Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) and Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica), the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation and Resorts World. Cultural partners include the New York Hall of Science, Museum of Moving Image, Bricks 4 Kids, Lover Yourself Project and the Lewis H. Latimer House.
The free festival takes place at JCAL, located at 153-10 Jamaica Ave., from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.