Sept. 20, 2019. By Shane O’Brien
Around 3,500 people are expected to attend a festival celebrating the food and music of Jackson Heights this Saturday.
The 82nd Street Partnership will host its eighth annual Viva La Comida festival Sept. 21 from noon until 7 p.m.
The festival, which will take place on 82nd Street between Roosevelt Avenue and Baxter Avenue, will feature the tastes and the sounds of South America, Asia and the Caribbean.
The event will include local food trucks, an art exhibition, an open-air market and live music and dancing.
A total of 12 local food trucks will be serving cuisine from around the world, including Tibetan truck Mom’s Momos, Indian eatery Mysttik Masala, churros truck Ricas Botanas and a Mexican kebab vendor called Oscar’s Chuzos & Elotes.
Pina Coladas by Rosa will also be serving the classic cocktail served inside fresh pineapples.
There will also be a host of brick and mortar establishments taking part in the festival. A number of Colombian eateries situated on 82nd Street like Casa Rivera, Delicias Colombianas and La Nueva Bakery among others will all be partaking in Viva La Comida, while other establishments like J&J Pizzeria, Sabor Ecuatoriano Bakery and Yogurberry will also be taking part.
The festival will also feature an eclectic mix of local bands and musicians who will provide entertainment throughout the day.
Kicking off the entertainment will be Cuban traditional group Los Habeneros NYC at noon. They will be followed by a performance by the Rafael Castillo-Halvorssen Trio who play a wide variety music.
At 2:30 p.m., Colombian group Jay Rodriguez Y El Conjunto will play Latin swing music before Spanish artists Alfonso CID and Dueto Andaluz will play Flamenco music.
Yailyn Garcia will provide the penultimate performance of the festival with a display of Mariachi music and the festival’s entertainment will be concluded by Grupo Rebolu. The group is an ensemble of some of the finest Colombian artists in the United States and they will play music originating from Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
Local artist Derek Melander will be running art workshops on Saturday for children. Kids will be able to assist Melander in painting and designing fabrics throughout the day.
The John Lennon Education Tour Bus— an innovative mobile audio and HD video recording facility— will also 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.
Leslie Ramos, Executive Director of 82nd Street Partnership, said that the event was about boosting the local economy and at the same time promoting the diversity of Jackson Heights.
“We work really hard into making this into a unique festival. It is curated with the local community in mind,” Ramos said. “It’s unlike any other festival you’ll see in New York City and we work with local restaurants and food vendors. We’re creating economic development at the same time as creating a giant party.”