By Shanna Fuld
Some people wait all year for their family reunion, but there’s no need to put the party on hold.
On Saturday, everyone’s invited to enjoy a family event that includes relatives they have never even met.
That’s the day A.J. Jacobs is putting on the Global Family Reunion, a celebration of how all humankind is connected.
Jacobs, a writer and lecturer, will be talking about how we are all related to each other like a big family—connected to each other as cousins. The whole idea about familial connection began when he received an e-mail from a 12th cousin. After investing some thought and research, he began building a family tree with help from genealogy-finding sites on the web.
His party to celebrate the idea of the global family will run from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the New York Hall of Science.
In the name of family genealogy, Jacobs has arranged for all proceeds from the event to help fund research for the oftentimes genetic Alzheimer’s disease.
“Families are all about memories and stories, and Alzheimer’s robs us of that,” Jacobs said.
There will be a wide range of entertainment, as well as international food trucks, at the event.
According to Jacobs, more than 50 speakers, magicians, and musical acts will be on hand to entertain the crowd. In addition, those participating in the event will be asked to help try breaking the world record for the most people singing the song “We Are Family,” which will be performed by Sister Sledge. Other stars set to attend are Lisa Loeb, Brady Rymer, Glee’s Jenna Ushkowitz, Daniel Radcliffe and Dr. Oz. Jacobs says that Ushkowitz is a “walking family reunion,” as she is a Korean American with a Jewish surname. There will be a viewing of a video featuring former President George H.W. Bush as well.
Those who attend will also be able to pick from such family activities as potato-sack races, family trivia and crafts, or they can work with a team of professional genealogists to help them find their family lineage. Jacobs will be orchestrating a family photo where he will try to get all the guests together for the largest family photo shoot on record, in which they will be asked to hold signs that say “ I am a cousin.”
“I love the idea that finally science can prove we are all family. We can now see that we are all related. My hope is that once this sinks in, we can all be a tiny bit kinder to each other. I don’t think we are going to stop wars, but I’m looking for a little more compassion.” Jacobs is happy to hold the reunion at the location of the World’s Fair in Queens, as Queens is celebrated for its diversity.
If you Go
Global Family Reunion Festival
When: Saturday, June 6, from 11 am – 8:30 pm
Where: New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th St., Corona
Cost: $30/general admission, $50/VIP
Contact: (718) 699-0005
Queens residents receive a 25 percent discount when purchasing tickets at globa