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What do you call a half-mile-long block party?

Jamaica JAMS will bring an estimated 200,000 revelers to the 10-block roadway from 170th Street to Parsons Boulevard on Jamaica Avenue on Saturday, Aug. 5, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The area will be closed to vehicular traffic, and participants will get to stroll past more than 450 vendors, live entertainment, multi-cultural family fun, countless food trucks, and activities organized by community agencies.

The thoroughfare will be divided loosely into categories. For example, face-painting and crafts will be in a Kid Pavilion, while another section will feature aspects of health-and-wellness, such as check-ups, screenings, and a 45-foot truck from Affinity Health. There will also be the Jamaica Fit for Life Challenge, the Queens Antique Car Exhibit, a Rock Climbing Wall, NYPD Information, and the Jamaica Is… pop-up stage.

Saturday is going to be jam-packed, but the entertainment will actually begin tonight — Friday, Aug. 4, at 6 p.m. — with JAMS Under the Stars, a free moonlight concert at Rufus King Park in the vicinity of 153rd Street and 89th Avenue. Performers include local piano and saxophone player Ashley Keiko Chambers, a former York College Blue Notes member; the high-energy, multi-faceted dance troupe Nubian Gents & Feminine Fire; and Veronica Daeh, who has created her own “Soul Spirational” sound by mixing Jazz, Gospel, Inspirational, and other genres.

Currently celebrating its 21st year, Jamaica JAMS (aka Jamaica Arts & Music Summer Festival) was founded by a group of residents and community leaders who wanted to stimulate the economy and celebrate the area’s cultural diversity, culinary delights, and creative talent. The first one took place at York College in 1996 with about 7,000 attendees.

All images: Jamaica JAMS


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