Written by Mike Rice on May 19th, 2017 in News and Events

Due to the strong possibility of rain for the afternoon, the fifth annual Kingston Multicultural Festival is moving indoors to the Andy Murphy Midtown Neighborhood Center, 467 Broadway, Kingston, NY.    Join the party, June 4, from 1 to 5 p.m, for an afternoon featuring live ethnic music and dance, multicultural handicrafts, children’s activities,  food and drinks.

The free event, the only multicultural festival between New York City and Albany, will also include gyro, hamburgers, hot dogs, fried-fish sandwiches, tamales, fried dough, shaved ice, and more for a slight charge. Kosher options of certain foods will additionally be available.

“It’s going to be a fun-packed afternoon,” said Geoff Miller, chairman of the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History, which is presenting the festival.

“The afternoon will be filled with the sights, sounds and tastes of many cultures that make up our rich community,” Miller said. “There will be elaborate costumes, musical instruments, exhibits and entertainment from around the world. There’ll also be lots of kids’ activities.”

The kids’ activities will include arts and crafts, games, singing, and storytelling.

Festival performers include:

  • 1 p.m. Hellenic Youth Dance Troupe
  • 1:25 p.m. Center for Creative Education Energy Dancers
  • 1:50 p.m. Spirit of Thunderheart (Native American drumming)
  • 2:15 p.m. Klezmer Berl’s Hotsie Totsie Klezmer Orkester (Balkan, Roma-Gypsy and klezmer music)
  • 2:40 p.m. Sanjay Natesan (Classical Indian drumming)
  • 3:05 p.m. Amadou Diallo (African drumming)
  • 3:30 p.m. Tsvitka (Ukrainian dancing)
  • 3:55 p.m. Bill and Livia Vanaver and Caravan Kids (Tarantella traditional southern Italian folk dances)
  • 4:20 p.m. New Progressive Baptist Church
  • 4:45 p.m. Choreo Dance Studio (Irish step dancing)

An authentic Mexican piñata, made by Nancy Ruiz and filled with children’s treats, will be broken open around 4:15 p.m.

Other festival participants include:

  • A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Center
  • Hudson River Maritime Museum
  • Humanamente (cultural diversity management)
  • Jewish Federation of Ulster County
  • La Voz magazine (Hudson Valley Hispanic culture and news)
  • Latino Committee of Kingston
  • Mid-Hudson Japanese Community Association
  • Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, Branch 95
  • Ulster County Italian-American Foundation

“The Reher Center is proud to present this celebration of both our diversity and our shared American heritage,” Miller said. “It’s important to remember that nearly all our families immigrated from other countries and cultures.”

June is also Immigrant Heritage Month, which celebrates the shared U.S. heritage as a nation of immigrants.

Organizers of the multicultural festival recommend attendees bring blankets or folding chairs. Seating is informal.

Parking is available on city streets and behind the Kingston police station, off Broadway on Garraghan Drive, a few blocks up Broadway from the festival.

In the event of rain, the family-friendly event will be held at the Andy Murphy Midtown Neighborhood Center, on Broadway at the corner of Hoffman Street in midtown Kingston.

The Reher Center is a project of the Jewish Federation of Ulster County that highlights the region’s shared immigrant past, while extolling the role immigration plays in shaping our region’s evolving identity today.

The center is restoring a century-old former bakery, on the corner of Broadway and Spring Street, that was owned and operated by a Polish Jewish immigrant, Frank Reher, who sought refuge in America from harsh anti-Semitism in Poland within the Russian Empire. The family ran the Reher Bakery from 1908 until 1980 and then continued to live upstairs until 2004, when the last of the bakers, Hymie Reher, passed away.

The bakery building today preserves many of its details and elements from its late 19th-century construction, including the original coal-fired ovens, cabinetry in the retail store and preserved apartments upstairs where the family lived.

When the restoration is complete, the building will house the Reher Center for Immigrant History and Culture, which will have an exhibition hall, library, archive and retail area.

A Reher Center project to be spotlighted at the June 4 festival is the Reher Bakery’s “Sunday List” — a weekly series of names the Reher family kept to get ready for the Sunday rush for rolls after church. The center found a list of roll orders for dozens of people jotted down on a folded brown paper bag. At the festival, the center will display a poster-size image of the bag at its tent for people to examine.

“We would love to hear from anyone who recognizes the names and remembers the bakery from the time before urban renewal demolished most of the Rondout neighborhood,” Miller said. The names include Sickler, Matthews, Carpino, Bruhn, Tremper, Polacco, Sepesy and Bruck.

ArtsMidHudson LogoThe multicultural festival is made possible in part with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York state Legislature and administered by Arts Mid-Hudson.

Additional support comes from HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, Klock Kingston Foundation, Basch & Keegan, Rondout Savings Bank, Ulster County Italian-American Foundation and private donors.

For more information about the festival or the Reher Center, go to rehercenter.org or the Reher Center’s Facebook page, facebook.com/ReherBakery. Information is also available by email at info@rehercenter.org or phone at 845-338-8131.