HARLEM — Harlem Week launched its 39th year of events Sunday, kicking off hundreds of activities to celebrate the neighborhood's past, present and future.
The festival, which runs through Aug. 24, features everything from job fairs and housing conferences to junior tennis showcases and outdoor film screenings.
Sunday’s opening festivities included performances by local dance companies and gospel choirs as well as a musical salute to Stevie Wonder that featured Ray Chew, the musical director of “American Idol.”
“All the events that happen in Harlem in 365 days we try to squeeze into a month,” said Marko Nobles, second vice chairman of Harlem Week.
Weekly activities include live jazz Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in U.S. Grant National Memorial Park on 122nd Street and Riverside Drive; free tours of The Studio Museum in Harlem on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.; and a farmers market every Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.
On Aug. 18, the neighborhood will celebrate “Harlem Day,” a salute to the original 1974 celebration. Events will include a vintage car show, a small business expo and the NY Children’s Festival, which offers dance lessons, double dutch competitions and face painting.
On Aug. 24, Harlem Week will wrap up with the fifth annual Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run at 8:30 a.m. and an “Anti-Gun Violence” walk at 10 a.m.
“Since the Trayvon Martin verdict came out the way it did, we will certainly be addressing that in the walk,” Nobles said. “But the walk is for all those who fall victim to gun violence, such as those in Newtown and Aurora.”
The night will conclude with an outdoor screening of “Brother Outsider.”
Most events are free, but some, including the 5K run, are not. See Harlem Week’s website for a complete list.