Sunnyside held its first-ever Colombian Independence Day celebration on Bliss Plaza on Friday, July 22.
The event was organized by the Sunnyside Shines business improvement district to salute the neighborhood’s Colombian business owners and workers along Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue’s commercial corridor.
“We work closely with many of the Colombian restaurants and bakeries along Queens Boulevard, Greenpoint Avenue, and side streets and we see the daily contributions of the dynamic and growing Colombian community here in Sunnyside,” said Dirk McCall de Palomá, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “As a gringo married to a Colombian, I celebrate Colombian culture daily, and today we all come together to recognize the contributions of Colombians to Sunnyside. We are so proud and grateful to the Colombian community for their work in Sunnyside and western Queens.”
Performers for the event included Ricardo Estevan, a Colombian singer who has received many awards, and a dynamic dance group, Mestizo Art Center. It was coordinated by Sunnyside Shines in conjunction with Councilwoman Julie Won.
“I want to wish the Colombian community of District 26 a Happy Colombian Independence Day,” Won said. “I am honored to be a part of the first celebration of Colombian Independence in Sunnyside. I want to thank Sunnyside Shines for organizing this celebration and look forward to continuing to build community with our Colombian neighbors.”
Colombian food was donated by the event sponsor, La Vienesa Bakery, with additional food from Café Colombia and Mira Cali. Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue have numerous Colombian-owned or operated establishments including but not limited to Pegas y Algo Mas, Pollera de Mario, Café Colombia, Los Verdes, Paper Plus Printing, Buen Sabor, El Pilon Bakery, Mira Cali and El Parador Caleño.
“Residents of Colombian descent have been a vital part of the Queens community for many years and I am privileged to represent so many in the state Senate,” Senator Michael Gianaris said. “Happy Colombian Independence Day to all and thank you to Sunnyside Shines for making the space for this important celebration.”
To see upcoming events for the BID, visit the Sunnyside Shines website here.