The third annual, month-long Arts Alive LI celebration kicks off this weekend with a free Family Arts Festival at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.
There will be concerts, art activities, food and other fun 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday with a special Arts Parade at 1 p.m. led by the FREE Players Drumline and Color Guard. The Impromptu Kazoo Band, which will also be joining in the procession, will be holding a rehearsal at noon for anyone inclined to hum along.
“We want everyone to think of October as Arts Month,” said Theresa Statz-Smith, executive director of the Long Island Arts Alliance, a network of not-for-profit arts and arts education organizations, which collaborated with Bethpage Federal Credit Union to get this Arts Alive LI lollapalooza up and running.
Two stages will be set up on Museum Row for the festival. The main stage will feature acts like the Jen Chapin Trio, Lena and the Happy Clam Band and the Pursuing JC Band, whose young musicians range from ages 11 to 15. They recently won the Audience Choice Award at the Huntington Arts Council’s “Got Talent? Long Island” contest. Other musicians like the Central Islip Choir will perform on a recital stage sponsored by Music & Arts, a Maryland-based company that bills itself as “the nation’s largest school music retailer and lesson provider” and has just opened three locations on Long Island.
Long Island’s Jen Chapin Trio hits the main stage at 3 p.m. Elton Ha, a talented 10-year-old pianist, will play on the Music & Arts Stage earlier in the day. Ha has been chosen to perform with the phenomenal pianist Lang Lang at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post on Sunday, Oct. 26.
Festival goers can also participate at free mini-workshops, create art pieces and parade with them. Budding artists can help paint the Hangar Five Mural if they find their way to the Long Island Arts Alliance tent where they can grab a paintbrush. Professional artists will be doing what they do best on the lawn by Nunley’s Carousel. There will be prizes given away, too, throughout the day.
This part of the proceedings is just the beginning. There will be more than a hundred art and cultural happenings scheduled for the weeks to come, ranging from concerts to art shows and other festivals and special events in more than 40 venues from Nassau to the East End of Suffolk.
“The idea is to drive people to the different venues,” Statz-Smith told the Press. “We’re trying to showcase Long Island’s arts and culture under one big umbrella with a month-long celebration.”
And that’s not all that’s on tap this weekend. For example, the 2nd Annual Long Island African American-Caribbean Heritage Parade and Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Sept. 27 along Washington Avenue and Front Street in Hempstead. The Sag Harbor American Music Festival presents an array of different styles from blue grass to the blues from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Long Island’s maritime tradition is honored at the “Working the Waters at the Tobay Boat Show,” which runs from noon to 6 p.m. at Tobay Beach on the Ocean Parkway in Massapequa through Sunday. And, last but not least, the Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration goes from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Ernesto Strada Piazza on Post Avenue in Westbury on Sunday, Sept. 28.
And so, from Sept. 27 to Oct. 31, Long Island will come alive with art, music and performances. For a complete list of events plus discount coupons and the chance to win prizes like an “East End Family Getaway” or a “Long Beach Artventure,” check out artsaliveli.org and click on “Passport.” Many events, such as the community festivals and parades, are free.