The weekend has arrived and that can only mean one thing–time for great family fun, gratis, at the 28th Loisaida Festival. Get ready for the festivities with a few top questions:
What is this Festival Anyways?
Since 1987, the Loisaida Festival has been celebrated the Sunday before Memorial Day weekend in the Manhattan neighborhood known as the Lower East Side, the East Village, or Loisaida. It started as a neighborhood celebration for Lower East Side families unable to leave the city during Memorial Day Weekend. They embraced this and turned it into a great occasion to celebrate the independent, diverse, renegade spirit of the neighborhood. Through the years, it has grown into a full-on celebration of yes Latino culture in the Lower East Side and the city, but also of the vibrant and rich diversity of this neighborhood.
Do you have kid-friendly activities?
Yes. We have all sorts of kid-friendly activities, from a Theater Lab that includes performances perfect for your little ones and many booths with entertainment, classes, workshops for children. You can learn more about our kid-friendly activities here and here.
I don’t have kids, and I don’t like music (what?!) What should I expect at the Festival?
One of the first things that come to mind when thinking of the Loisaida Festival is the mainstage music. These year the Festival has a kick-ass lineup hosted by beloved actors Luis Guzman. So, yes, we love our mainstage and at the same time, the Festival offers much more. Take for example our Carnival Procession: the day of the Loisaida Festival begins with a parade that starts promptly at 11 am. Going down both Avenues C and D, the parade features traditional plena music, community organizations and marching bands, and promises to increase in this year. One of the most notable parade participants is the Felix Millan Little League, establish in 1977 and named after the famous Puerto Rican baseball player. Another crowd favorite is the New York Stars and Marching band from Washington Heights. Founded in 2011, they have taught the valuable skills of baton twirling and band musicianship to its youth participants.
I keep hearing about some awards. What is up with that?
The Viva Loisaida Awards are as iconic as the Festival itself. For the longest time, they were awarded to members of the Lower East Side community whose contribution were and are vital to the spirit of Loisaida. As Loisaida, Inc.’s Chief Curator and Artistic Director, Libertad Guerra, explains, “These recognitions are meant to take stock of our past and future players and celebrate the individuals that give meaning to Latino New York cultural vibrancy.” Last year, Loisaida, Inc. reinstated this great tradition, recognizing City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito; Council Member Rosie Mendez; Street Artist, Antonio “Chico” Garcia; Owner and Chef of Loisaida’s iconic Casa Adela, Adela, and a posthumous recognition to foundational Nuyorican poet and community organizer Tato Laviera.
This year, we are pleased to announce that the awards will be given to: Nydia Velazquez, Photographer Marlis Momber, Dr. Joseph Kramer, Lizabeth Bruno, Sammy Tanco. Join us on Sunday to learn more about these pillars of our community.
Do I have to speak Spanish to attend the Festival?
Silly question. Of, course. You don’t. The 28th Loisaida Festival has a foundation on the Puerto Rican and Latino community of the Lower East Side. If there’s anything you need to know about what made Loisaida, the hood, special is that it was a place where generations, ethnicities, groups, all sorts of people and places intersected and came together to produce something very unique. The Loisaida Festival is about that. Above all, we celebrate culture and community.
Join us to celebrate the tradition, culture, and music of Lower East Side community.