Though a relatively new addition to the rich cultural cauldron of Kingston’s Rondout Historic District, the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History is making its presence felt by sponsoring a series of informal public celebrations that emphasize the city’s multiethnic roots. Billed as “the only event of its type between New York City and Albany,” the family-friendly Kingston Community Block Party will have its second annual outing this Sunday, June 8 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at T. R. Gallo West Strand Park on the Rondout waterfront.
The Block Party will feature live ethnic music, dance and comedy, along with multicultural handicrafts, children’s activities, food and drinks. “All-American” street-fair fare like hamburgers and hot dogs will be available along with the more exotic noshes, with kosher options as well.
The live entertainment will include such diverse offerings as the African drumming of Amadou Diallo, Klezmer and Balkan music from Caprice Rouge, Latin guitar stylings from Eduardo Parra, German music and dance by Germania Almrausch Schuhplattler Verein and the Kingston Maennerchor and Damenchor, more ethnic dance from the Hellenic Youth Dance Troupe, Kerhonkson Ukrainian Dancers and Irish Set Dancers, bagpipe music by Richmond Johnston and a performance by the Native American troupe Spirit of Thunderheart.
Children’s activities will include arts and crafts, face-painting, games, singing and storytelling. Festival attendees will also have an opportunity to take a “diversity pledge,” honoring the dignity of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, heritage and other human and societal differences. Children and adults who take the pledge will receive a free silicone wristband that says “Celebrate Diversity.”
Festival seating is informal, so please bring blankets or folding chairs, says Reher Center chairman Geoff Miller. “That day we will all come together to celebrate the many distinct cultural traditions in our community in one place, at one time.”
Admission is free. In the event of rain, the Block Party will be held indoors at the Andy Murphy Midtown Neighborhood Center, on Broadway at the corner of Hoffman Street in Midtown Kingston. For more information, call (845) 338-8131 or visit www.rehercenter.org or the ReherBakery page on Facebook.