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Loisaida Festival to Take Place Throughout Memorial Day Weekend

By Lisha Arino | May 20, 2014 4:33pm
 Musicians play drums during the 2012 Loisaida Festival. This year's festival will take place May 23-25, 2014.
Musicians play drums during the 2012 Loisaida Festival. This year's festival will take place May 23-25, 2014.
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Javier Romero

EAST VILLAGE — An annual Memorial Day street festival will return with an extended schedule and a renewed emphasis on the neighborhood’s cultural history.

The 27th annual Loisaida Festival, one of the largest Latino pride events in Lower Manhattan, will take place from May 23-25, said Libertad Guerra, who organized the event for Loisaida, Inc., which has put on the festival since 1987.

This year, the festival will focus on the cultural developments that took place in the neighborhood, particularly within the Latino community, Guerra said, citing examples like the Nuyorican poetry movement and street art elements.

“We’re trying to honor those traditions in a contemporary way,” she said.

Highlights of the festival include a poetry jam on Friday at City Lore, located at 56 E. 1st St., which will feature guest poets including Sandra Maria Esteves, Jesus Papolete Melendez, David Henderson and others, as well as an all-day program focusing on the community’s activist history.

“The Production of Nabe: Loisaida’s land-use and environmental activism, past and present” will take place Saturday from 2-6 p.m. at the New Loisaida Center, 710 E. 9th St., and will include documentary screenings, talks and the debut of “Memorias de Loisaida,” a theatrical piece by Papel Machete.

Following the kick-off parade at 11 a.m., the festival’s street fair will take place Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. on Avenue C between E. 6th and 12th streets.

The street fair will feature live performances by artists like Los Pleneros de la 21, Romance de Teatro Sea and Flaco Navaja on its main stage, as well as arts and crafts and food vendors. Festival-goers can also enjoy Puerto Rican and Latino food prepared by local restaurants in a special food court area.

The fair will also include kids’ activities, theater workshops at presentations at La Plaza Cultural Community Garden and “Be Healthy/Ser Saludable” zone focusing on physical activities, health screenings and nutritional counseling.

Admission to all the festival’s events are free. More information and the festival’s complete schedule is available on its website.