CROWN HEIGHTS — A doughnut-eating contest and dog parade are coming to the neighborhood next weekend, in just a fraction of the fun planned for the third annual Kingston Avenue Festival.
Started in 2012 as a block party with an anti-violence theme, organizers said it’s grown into a much busier event to highlight the good things in the area, though the anti-violence message has remained.
“The festival is a way to bring the community together in a really positive way,” said Kira Cohen, the special projects coordinator at the Crown Heights Mediation Center, the anti-violence organization that founded the festival three years ago. “Besides being a really fun way to spend a Saturday, it brings this message of safety and health and positive fun the community can have together.”
That fun includes T-shirt decorating, poetry writing, face painting, grilling, musical performances, balloon art, a collaborative mural painting put on by teachers from New Bridges Elementary School and a make-your-own instrument workshop organized by Arts for Progress. Submissions to the Mediation Center’s anti-violence art contest will be on display on the avenue and in a nearby gallery as well.
The popular Bedford-Stuyvesant doughnut shop Dough will donate doughnuts to the festival for the event’s eating contest, organizers said. Dog owners from nearby Brower Park are planning a dog parade to create a way “to show off our good dogs to the community,” according to the group’s Facebook page, which has information about how to enter the "dog popularity contest."
And though the focus is on fun, Cohen said the festival is also about getting information out into the community. The legal aid group Brooklyn Defenders Services, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and Heights and Hills, a nonprofit that pairs volunteers to help local seniors, will be among organization tabling at the event to offer services and help to the neighborhood.
The Kingston Avenue Festival will take place rain or shine from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 17 between Pacific and Bergen streets. The festival is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Crown Heights Mediation Center at 718-773-6886.