August 28, By Michael Florio
A popular food and culture festival is returning for a fourth straight year.
Viva La Comida, hosted by the 82nd Street Partnership, will once again bring food, art and entertainment to the neighborhood this year on September 19th from 12 pm to 7 pm.
Restaurants, food trucks, food vendors and even a stage and sound system will take over 82nd Street from Roosevelt Avenue to Baxter Avenue, according to Leslie Ramos, Executive Director with the 82nd Street Partnership.
This will be the first Viva La Comida Ramos has put together, after coming onboard in October. She not only hopes to continue the growth of the event, but also wants to make it the best one yet.
“This year’s will be even bigger and better than previous years,” Ramos said.
The organization began hosting the event in 2012, with only a small part of the street by Dunningham Triangle closed off, according to Ramos. That year roughly 500 attendees showed up; attendance hit 2,000 last year. Ramos expects to meet or exceed that number this year.
There were five food trucks and carts in total that participated in 2012. Last year there were nine and Ramos said she expects that number to grow this year.
More than 10 restaurants will be participating including Tulcingo, Casa Rivera and Golden City Chifa Restaurant. Each restaurant is encouraged to create a specialty dish for the event, with many offering discounts, Ramos said. Some of the restaurants also set up outdoor seating for the event.
“We highlight the local restaurants,” Ramos said. “It gives them an opportunity to interact further with the community.”
Attendees can enjoy live musical performances, children’s entertainment and an interactive art show by Elmhurst artist Adrian Bermpo.
“There is something for everyone,” Ramos said.
The partnership aims to provide residents with entertainment while putting the spotlight on Jackson Heights.
“There is not a lot of open space here so the residents don’t have as many events as they would like,” Ramos said.
“The event brings attention to the neighborhood and helps promote the area,” she said.
In the future, Ramos would like to incorporate a second block into the event, having it stretch along 82nd Street from 37th Avenue to Baxter Avenue.
“This would provide more space for additional vendors and artists,” she said.