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Viva la Comida Festival to Take Place Saturday, Features Cuisine from 14 Countries

Sept. 10, 2018 By Tara Law

Jackson Heights will show off its diversity during a food and music-filled festival this Saturday.

The 82nd Street Partnership will host the seventh annual Viva la Comida festival from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The festival, which will take place on 82nd Street between Roosevelt and Baxter Avenues, will feature the tastes and sounds of Asian, Latin American and Afro-Caribbean culture.

This year’s festival will offer food from 14 countries, including Venezuela, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Ecuador.

Longtime street vendors returning this year will include Colombian food by Jackson Heights’ Arepa Lady; Indian food by Mysttik Masala; and Salvadoran food from Solber Pupusas.

Two restaurants that are new to the neighborhood will make a first-time appearance at the festival. Igloo Rolls, which serves patacon (fried plantain sandwiches) and ice cream rolls will be participating; so too will Zaytoun, which offers Arabic-Mediterranean food.

Viva la Comida will also feature sevens bands and DJs that are as eclectic as the food vendors’ dishes.

The Sebastian Cruz Trio will appear at 12 p.m., performing improvised Colombian music on drums, bass and guitar.

At 1 p.m., the 12-piece band Spanglish Fly will perform “boogaloo,” a musical style that was born in Spanish Harlem in the 1960s and fuses Latin music with soul and R&B. The signature boogaloo instruments are the drums and the gaitas, a Colombian indigenous flute.

At 4 p.m., musician Neil Padukone will present a performance that fuses Indian, Latin American and African American music together.

Then at 6 p.m., Cumbia River Band will perform classic Colombian “cumbia” tunes on tuba, accordion, clarinet and voice.

The festival will also feature a pair of interactive arts projects. 

The John Lennon Education Tour Bus— an innovative mobile audio and HD video recording facility— will park at the festival. Festival attendees will be invited to attend free digital media workshops and create giant peace signs. Participants will be invited to learn how to write, record and produce original songs, music videos and documentaries.

Finally, the Queens World Film Festival will lead a pop-up film school. Attendees can learn how to take better photos and videos with their phones. Participants can also walk a red carpet, where they can learn how to take better selfies and boost their profile on social media.

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Our organization Queens for Liberty and Progress will be collecting signatures to restart and support another BID expansion along Roosevelt Avenue. It is time do revitalize Roosevelt Avenue and transform it it a major tourist attraction. Our goal is to collect 10,000 signatures, so bring your families and friens over to show your support.


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