Summer Festival Calendar


by staff, 06/12/2013

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Outdoor festivals are a fixture of summer, and New York City has no shortage of ways to celebrate the season. Dance, sing, craft and eat your way through the next few months with our roundup of events throughout NYC. Read on to see what's going on, including a poetry festival, film screenings, a day dedicated to all things water and Harlem's monthlong culture and heritage fest. Grab the sunscreen and get ready to celebrate—there's enough here to keep you busy all summer long.

Photo: Etienne Frossard


Through June 15
Harborlore Festival
The Brooklyn Arts Council pays tribute to the borough's waterways during this monthlong series of events. Throughout the festival, check out complimentary events ranging from dance to storytelling, all of which celebrate water's importance to the art world. Programming includes a survey of maritime songs at Red Hook's Jalopy Music Theatre, a dance for post–Hurricane Sandy recovery and family dance workshops in Coney Island. For more information, visit

Through August 30
Summer on the Hudson at Riverside Park
This festival presented by the Parks Department is back for another season, taking place in Riverside Park from 59th to 153rd Streets. The celebration of all things arts and culture includes concerts, dance performances, wellness activities, movies, kids' shows, special events and more. All programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit
June 15–16
Jazz Age Lawn Party at Governors Island

Over two weekends this summer (one each in June and August), you can take a seat on the lawn at Governors Island and travel back to the 1920s and '30s courtesy of Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra. The festival brings live music, dance instruction and games—not to mention some killer period millinery on participants. For more information, visit

River to River

June 15–July 14
River to River Festival
Each summer, the River to River Festival takes over downtown Manhattan for a month of free performances and events. This year’s highlights include a nine-hour Bang on a Can Marathon set, a reimagining of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman at the South Street Seaport and the highly interactive game-playing event, Come Out and Play After Dark. For more information and a full schedule of programming, visit

Swedish Midsummer Festival
Courtesy, Consulate General of Sweden in New York

June 21
Swedish Midsummer Festival at Wagner Park

The longest day of the year is cause for this annual downtown celebration co-hosted by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy and the Consulate General of Sweden in New York. Mark the occasion with folk dancing, music, wreath making, a parade, games and Swedish treats in the park. Special guests include folklorist Ross Sutter, American Swedish Institute of Minneapolis fiddlers and the Swedish Folkdancers of New York. For more information, visit

June 22
Tropfest New York at Prospect Park
Tropfest, the world's largest short-film festival, was founded more than 20 years ago in Australia. And this summer, the festival has expanded and finds an additional home in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, where attendees can enjoy a day of food and music before settling in to watch the festival screening, hosted by Liev Schreiber. A panel of celebrity judges will select the festival's best original seven-minute short, and the winning director will receive a $20,000 cash prize. For more information, visit

June 28
NYC LGBT Pride Rally at Pier 26
A month after the Stonewall Riots in June 1969, 500 peaceful protesters gathered in Washington Square Park to express solidarity and gay pride. Forty-four years later, the New York City LGBT Pride Rally continues to be the official kickoff for Pride Week. Taking place at Pier 26 in TriBeCa, the rally features dozens of well-known performers and speakers and attracts thousands of attendees. The rally goes from 7 to 10pm. For more information, visit

June 29–September 7
Warm Up at MoMA PS1
Long Island City's long-running dance party returns for another season of Saturday-afternoon DJ shindigs and musical performances. This uber-hip party, which takes place in the courtyard of MoMA PS1, consistently offers up some of the music industry's best and brightest within a landscape transformed for the summer by emerging architects CODA. For more information, visit

June 30
The streets spill over with a vibrant mixture of food and craft vendors, musicians, entertainers and local residents at the annual Pride Week street fair, now in its 20th year. The PrideFest smorgasbord starts at Hudson and 14th Streets, just a quick walk from the Hudson River piers, an excellent place to watch the sunset after a day of celebration. This event is free and open to the public and takes place 11am–6pm. For more information, visit

July 4–7
International African Arts Festival at Commodore Barry Park
This yearly festival of African culture brings four days of music, dance and spoken word to Brooklyn. The 42nd-annual celebration also has plenty of entertainment for kids, including storytelling, clowns and more. For more information, visit

City of Water Day
Photo: Ian Douglas

July 20
City of Water Day at Governors Island
From its inception, New York City has been a waterfront town—and its shoreline has become more accessible than ever to the public in recent years. On Saturday, July 20, the annual City of Water Day Festival will celebrate NYC's waterways, featuring free entertainment and education for kids and adults alike about the ways the five boroughs interact with our rivers and harbor. Last year's event brought boat tours, fishing, harbor tours, live music and more. For more information, visit

New Museum Block Party
Courtesy, New Museum

July 20
New Museum Block Party at Sara D. Roosevelt Park
This annual free festival, held in Sara D. Roosevelt Park, includes interactive art activities and performances. All block party guests will receive complimentary admission to the New Museum on July 20 where on-site programming includes family-friendly tours of current exhibitions such as Ellen Gallagher: Don't Axe Me and other activities. For more information, visit

July 24–August 11
Lincoln Center Out of Doors at various locations, Lincoln Center
There's an embarrassment of riches at Lincoln Center's summertime Out of Doors festival. Performers from around the world are what make this series so wonderful, and this year is no exception, with a schedule of varied music and dance events; world, US and New York premieres; family shows; and specially commissioned works. And best of all, all performances are free. For more information, visit

July 27–28

Annual NYC Poetry Festival at Governors Island
Presented by The Poetry Society of New York, this annual celebration returns to Colonels' Row for two days this summer. Grab a blanket (and maybe your own poetry to read aloud) and head to Governors Island for a full weekend of poetry from 50 organizations, with vendors, a beer garden, food, arts and crafts and activities for children. For more information, visit

Harlem Week
Photo: Joe Buglewicz

July 27–August 24
Harlem Week
What began in 1974 as a one-day tribute to Harlem has evolved into a monthlong celebration of the community's rich economic, political and cultural history. From children's festivals to a college fair to the New York City Senior Citizens Day "Elders' Jubilee," there is a diverse range of events for residents of the neighborhood and beyond. Don't miss the official kickoff, "A Great Day in Harlem," on July 28 at the General Grant National Memorial in Riverside Park; Harlem Day on August 18; and the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run/Family Health Walk-A-Thon on August 24. For more information, visit

Photo: Alex Lopez

Summer Streets
For three Saturdays in August, the sounds of honking horns and idling engines will be replaced with contented sighs and the cling-cling of bicycle bells on select streets throughout the City. Streets throughout Manhattan will be closed to traffic and open to the public for anything from biking to strolling to dancing—even prancercizing, if you like. For more details as the event approaches, visit

Fringe Festival
Photo: Shinji Murakami

August 9–25
New York International Fringe Festival
A brief synopsis just can't do the New York International Fringe Festival justice. For 17 days, Fringe Fest will include more than 1,000 distinct stage performances—including absurdist comedies, social commentaries and hip-hop musicals—with participating theater companies from down the street and around the globe. Choose a show—or two—that floats your boat, or buy a multiday pass to get the full experience. For more information, visit

August 10–11
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park
The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is an annual sporting and multicultural event held in August on Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens to celebrate the fifth moon (or the fifth month) of the lunar calendar. In addition to providing audiences with traditional Chinese foods and performances, the festival hosts more than 120 dragon boat teams from across North America, making it one of the largest dragon boat festivals in the United States. Depending on which division they're in, teams compete for cash, trophies and other prizes. For complete information, visit

August 17–18
Jazz Age Lawn Party at Governors Island
Over two weekends this summer (one each in June and August), you can take a seat on the lawn at Governors Island and travel back to the 1920s and '30s courtesy of Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra. The festival brings live music, dance instruction and games—not to mention some killer period millinery on participants. For more information, visit

August 28–September 2
New York International Salsa Dance & Music Festival at New York Hilton Midtown
Get ready to salsa! Each Labor Day weekend in the City, the New York International Salsa Congress Dance & Music Festival comes to town, featuring four days and five nights of nonstop fun. Included are workshops, performances, competitions and live concerts with bands and DJs lasting well into the early morning hours. For more information, visit

August 31–September 1

NYC Unicycle Festival at Governors Island
This one-wheeled festival rolls into town over Labor Day weekend, with the main celebration happening on Governors Island. On Saturday and Sunday, check out demonstrations, races and even unicycle basketball and hockey. Brave festivalgoers will even have the chance to test their balance on one of the bikes. For more information, visit

Richmond County Fair
Courtesy, Staten Island Borough President's Office

August 31–September 2
Richmond County Fair at Historic Richmond Town
There's fun for the whole family at this three-decade-old Staten Island tradition. Kids will get a kick out of circus performers, crafts and farm animals, while parents will enjoy the live music. Rides, food and reliable county fair standbys like a pie-eating contest round out the weekend. Plus, proceeds benefit Historic Richmond Town, itself a year-round attraction that offers a window into the City's past. For more information, visit

related venues/(8)

  1. 1
    Riverside Park
    Riverside Drive to Hudson River
    72nd St. to St Clair Pl.
    New York – Upper West Side
    NY 10115
  2. 2
    Governors Island
    New York Harbor
    Manhattan – Financial District
    NY 10004
  3. 3
    Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park
    Battery and 1st Places
    Manhattan – Battery Park City
    NY 10280
  1. 4
    Prospect Park
    95 Prospect Park West
    Multiple Locations
    NY 11215
  2. 5
    MoMA PS1
    22-25 Jackson Ave.
    Queens – Long Island City
    NY 11101
  3. 6
    Commodore Barry Park
    Nassau Street (bet. Navy St. and N. Elliot Place)
    Brooklyn – Fort Greene
    NY 11201
  1. 7
    Sara D. Roosevelt Park
    East Houston Street to Canal Street (bet. Forsyth and Chrystie Sts.)
    Manhattan – Lower East Side
    NY 10002
  2. 8
    Historic Richmond Town
    441 Clarke Ave.
    Staten Island – Richmond Town
    NY 10306

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