ASTORIA — Thousands of people were expected to descend on Astoria Park Monday night for big band music and fireworks to kick off the summer season.
The event, known as the Independence Celebration, has been held for 30 years and has become a neighborhood tradition.
“Every year, it attracts about 15,000 people,” said Marie Torniali, executive director of Central Astoria Local Development Coalition, which organizes the event.
During the show, held between Hell Gate Bridge and the Astoria Pool, participants will swing along with Joe Battaglia and the New York Big Band while watching the fireworks lighting up the sky, weather permitting.
The music was set to start at 7:30 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9 p.m.
The Waterfront Concert Series will continue on Thursday evenings in July and August and will feature country music, a swing band, a group performing a medley of Ray Charles hits and a tribute to Bon Jovi and Journey.
Monday evenings will be movie night in Astoria Park, with films including "The Lion King," "Cars," and "Footloose," among others.
Meanwhile, the pool in Astoria Park has been filled and is scheduled to open this weekend.