Jamaica festival returns with theme for each block

By Gabrielle Prusak

JAMS is back for its 18th annual festival.

Jamaica Arts and Music will from Fri., Aug. 1, through Saturday on Jamaica Avenue from Parsons Boulevard to 170th Street.

This festival takes up 10 blocks and each block has a different category of activities. According to Tyra Emerson, executive director of Cultural Collaborative Jamaica, some of the blocks that will be included are a natural health block, car show block, artists block, kids block and the main stage block.

In the natural health block, there will be a farmers market and other things related to health.

“Someone will be making smoothies, groups part of Jamaica Health Challenge will be giving out information and Cornell has a health initiative as well,” said Emerson.

The car show block will be featuring modern and antique cars, thanks to local Ford car dealerships.

On the kids block there will be some exciting activities for children.

“We’re happy to say Radio Disney will be there,” Emerson said.

There will also be shows for children in pre-K and the city Parks Department’s game mobile will be in operation alongside NYPD’s rock climbing wall.

“We’re very excited at the JAMS planning committee,” the director said. “We added a lot of new things and met a lot of people as well. We’re also excited for the economic development when we do JAMS.”

Throughout the event there will be 450-500 different vendors.

“There will be all types of food, including the Italian sausage guy,” Emerson said.

There is a lot of Caribbean, hibachi and food trucks throughout the event. The Qdoba Mexican Grill is going to be there as well.

“There’s a wide range of different ethnic food,” the director said.

The vendors and stores that are participating in the festival will have “great bargains for anyone to come and shop,” according to Emerson.

On Friday JAMS will have a kick-off concert at Rufus King Park, where there will be a Zumba class and other health exercises from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The lineup of music groups was not available by press time. Saturday’s festival lasts from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Both events are free to the public.

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