Cultural Heritage Festivals return to Valhalla
GalleriesWestchester Asian-American celebration
Celebrating the traditional food, music and dance of several countries around the world, Westchester County Parks’ free Cultural Heritage Festivals returned on Saturday to Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla.
Peter Tartaglia, the deputy commissioner for Westchester County Parks, Recreation and Conservation, said the outdoor festivities provide an opportunity for people of all ethnic backgrounds to celebrate the diversity of Westchester County’s residents.
“They’re just wonderful events,” he said, adding that the African-American and Hispanic Cultural Heritage Festivals are among the most popular. “You get a really great cross-section of people who come from all over the county.”
Many of the festivals, which are held rain or shine throughout the summer, date back to the early-1970s. The Asian-American Festival, now in its 14th year, kicks off the series this Saturday. China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar are among the countries that will be represented. In addition to traditional food, music and dance from the represented countries, kids’ activities will include Chinese paper cutting, a magic show and face-painting.
All of the events are held at Kensico Dam Plaza, except for the Irish festival, whose organizers prefer to celebrate at Ridge Road Park in Hartsdale, where it’s traditionally been held, according to Tartaglia.
An event celebrating Albanian heritage was canceled due to scheduling conflicts, Tartaglia said.
If you head to one of the heritage festivals, bring blankets and folding chairs, find a spot on the lawn, and immerse yourself in the experience.
Cultural Heritage Festival schedule
The following events all occur at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla unless otherwise noted. All festivals are free and open to the public. Find more information at www.westchestergov.com/parks or by calling 914-864-7275
-Saturday, May 19: Asian-American Festival, noon to 6 p.m.
-Sunday, June 24: African-American Festival, noon to 7 p.m.
-Sunday, July 8: Italian Festival, noon to 7 p.m.
-Sunday, July 15: Irish Festival, noon to 7 p.m., Ridge Road Park, Hartsdale
-Sunday, July 15: Polish Festival, noon to 6 p.m.
-Sunday, July 22: Hispanic Festival, noon to 7 p.m.
-Sunday, Aug. 5: Indian Festival, 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
-Sunday, Aug. 19: Jewish Music Festival, 5 to 8 p.m.