What: DanceAfrica Bazaar 2009
Where: GMCC parking lots at Lafayette and Ashland Place
When: May 23rd, 12-10 p.m., May 24th, 12-8 p.m., May 25th, 12-7 p.m.
Why: You say Flea. Some say Fair. Others say Festival. Instead of calling anything that fits into the whole outdoor vending scene a market, 32 years ago DanceAfrica started calling its outdoor extravaganza a bazaar. Today, it is the granddaddy of them all.
This Memorial Day weekend, more than 250 vendors from as far as the Caribbean and Africa will gather outside of Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House in downtown Brooklyn, where an estimated 30,000 people are expected to attend. Bring an appetite and your inner bargainer to help you purchase wisely as booths will be stacked with everything from African jewels and authentic artifacts to locally handmade and vintage goods to house wares and scents indigenous to the lands that inspire the festival.
In addition to the popular outdoor events, the BAM-produced DanceAfrica Festival features a dance program called Rhythmic Reflection: African Legacies Revealed, with an ensemble of companies; a film series at BAM Rose Cinemas; an art exhibit; and live music performances in BAMcafé.
“The festival is beautiful and it represents Brooklyn so much. It’s so rich in culture,” said Maricia DuPlessis, a Park Slope resident and a native of the Cape Malay tribe in South Africa. “From the performance to the crowd it is an amazing cultural experience.”
Leaving the island or journeying to downtown Brooklyn from within the boroughs for a community celebration such as this is well worth the ride. Whether your nostrils flare at the rising smoke from BBQ pits or your soul starts to feel a groove to the music flooding the streets, you’ll know you’ve found summer and good times to come in the great outdoors.
How to get there: Be sure to visit the event website below for all the venue locations and more details. Take the $7 BAMbus from Park Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets. Alternatively, take the 2, 3, 4, 5, B, Q to Atlantic Avenue, the G to Fulton St, or the C to Lafayette Ave. Click on HopStop below for step-by-step directions. (BAM, 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 718.636.4100, bam.org)
Photos: Courtesy of Jonathan Barth