LIC Springs! street festival returns to Vernon Boulevard for first time since 2019

LIC Springs! returns to Vernon Boulevard
LIC Springs! returns to Vernon Boulevard for the first time since 2019 with family-friendly entertainment on Saturday, June 18. (Courtesy of LIC Partnership)

Long Island City Partnership’s signature festival, LIC Springs!, returns to Vernon Boulevard on Saturday, June 18, featuring more than 100 local businesses and organizations, including many of the community’s marquee arts and dining establishments.

Now in its ninth year, the event is back along Vernon Boulevard for the first time since 2019 as a single-day street festival, from noon to 5 p.m., following a re-imagining over the past two years in response to the pandemic.

The event has drawn more than 10,000 visitors in the past and features live music, dance and performances, plus interactive lessons, art, fitness classes, outdoor dining, pop-up activities, games and more.

LIC Springs! returns to Vernon Boulevard
Courtesy of LIC Partnership

“We’re thrilled to bring back LIC Springs! As a street festival and as a key event to showcase why Long Island City is a great place to live, work and visit and also operate a small business,” LICP Board Chair Patricia Dunphy said. “With more than 100 participants, it’s a testament to the endurance of our great community and I encourage everyone to show their support by joining us for what is sure to be a fun-filled day out.”

Vernon Boulevard will be closed to traffic between 46th and 50th avenues. While only brick and mortar businesses are allowed to sell items due to permitting restrictions, the scores of participants use pre-assigned booths to showcase special activations, giveaways and promotions. Select business owners have been named “block captains” to further inspire participation.

“As one of LIC’s longtime businesses, I like to say we’ve seen it all,” said Manducatis Rustica owner and chef Gianna Cerbone, a block captain during the event. “What’s really exciting is to see the community rebound and how pioneering and new businesses are coming together to shape what is one of the most talked-about neighborhoods in New York City.”

LIC Springs! returns to Vernon Boulevard
Courtesy of LIC Partnership

There will be a stage where performances will take place throughout the day and Culture Lab LIC, which hosts popular indoor and outdoor cultural programming throughout the year, is activating a ‘sounds space’ with music from their nearby facility at the Plaxall parking lot on 46th Avenue.

“Providing opportunities for local creators to showcase their art or music is central to our mission,” Culture Lab LIC Executive Director Edjo Wheeler said. “LIC Springs! has always been unique in its ability to engage all facets of the community. The return of this event has been a long time coming and I hope LIC-ers will enjoy our eclectic musical playlist and feel encouraged to check out our live performances throughout the summer.”

The unique activities include a bubble party, Irish dance lessons, a puppy meet-and-greet, Lego robotic coding, strength and board breaking contests, massages and costume making. Snapology of Long Island City, which offers play-based science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) programs for children, is among the participants.

“We’ve operated in LIC since 2018 and its events like LIC Springs! that helps connect us with the families we aim to serve,” Snapology of Long Island City owner Jessica Stasi said. “LIC is a family-friendly neighborhood in every sense of the word and it brings me great satisfaction, both personally and professionally, to see the community in full swing and supporting local businesses after two very trying years for our neighbors.”

Other participants include the Hunters Park Conservancy, MoMA PS1, The Chocolate Factory Theater, Sweet Chick, The Noguchi Museum and QBK Sports, which opened an indoor beach volleyball facility at 41-20 39th St. along the LIC and Sunnyside border in February. QBK Sports will be offering a mini volleyball clinic at the festival.

“As a business that opened just a few months ago, I was really pleased to hear about LIC Springs! as an opportunity to help residents discover venues like ours that are slightly off the beaten path,” QBK Sports Founder and CEO Leon Dubov said. “A deep sense of community is one of the reasons why we opened QBK Sports here and we anticipate that LIC Springs! will help generate awareness and new business opportunities.”

This is the first event for the Long Island Partnership since Elizabeth Lusskin stepped down as its president last month to take on an executive role at Empire State Development. The LICP Board continues the search for a new president.

For more information, including a full list of participating businesses and organizations, visit LIC Springs!