‘The way it should be’: Brighton Beach celebrates diversity at the 46th Brighton Jubilee

people at brighton jubilee
Southern Brooklyn residents celebrated diversity at the 46th annual Brighton Jubilee on Sunday.
Photo by Erica Price

Hundreds flocked to southern Brooklyn over on Sunday for the 46th annual multicultural street festival known as the Brighton Jubilee. 

Hosted by the Brighton Neighborhood Association, the celebration brings tons of businesses, restaurants and organizations together once a year to showcase their tasty cuisines, sell handcrafted merchandise and put on entertaining performances. 

man cooking at brighton jubilee
The annual street fair is chock-full of tasty ethnic food and treats. Photo by Erica Price

According to Pat Singer — president of the Brighton Beach Neighborhood Association and founder of the Jubilee — the event brings in over 125,000 residents each year, streaming in from Brighton Beach itself and from nearby nabes including Coney Island and Manhattan Beach. 

Jubilee attendees are encouraged to take in the rich, diverse culture of southern Brooklyn through food, dancing, and conversations. This year, between stages with live musical performances and fragrant food stands, the fair hosted public health offerings – a mammogram truck and another offering COVID-19 and tuberculosis vaccinations. 

man and son at brighton jubilee
The festival celebrates the neighborhood’s diversity and brings people together, Singer said. Photo by Erica Price

Pat Singer, president of the Brighton Beach Neighborhood Association and founder of the Brighton Jubilee, said the event is a “labor of love” and takes months for the team to plan.

“We are very proud of it. The crowd was great,” Singer told Brooklyn Paper. “All ethnicities were reflected in the audience and I love that fact.”

Brighton Beach has a diverse population with a high amount of immigrants. Over half of the neighborhood is foreign-born, according to census data, hailing mostly from Europe, Asia and Latin America. The nabe is home to the largest Ukrainian population outside of Eastern Europe.

musicians on stage at brighton jubilee
A group of musicians kept the good times rolling with a live performance. Photo by Erica Price

According to Singer, the event aims to highlight each culture that lives in the area by offering performances from various ethnic backgrounds.

“It made it look like this is America today the way it should be,” she said. “I’m proud of the role we’ve played here in being advocates for people. “

Shoppers at the Brighton Jubilee
Brooklynites young and old shopped for new watches and sunglasses at the festival. Photo by Erica Price

Singer said while the festival celebrates the people who make the area thrive, it originally started as a way to help immigrants integrate into the city culture. Many of the old street fairs that used to grace the neighborhood are now defunct, Singer told Brooklyn Paper last year, and she is happy to keep the longtime tradition going. 

“We came up with this concept in ’77 to do a street festival that would say to people ‘We’re alive, come visit us, come shop here, come live here,'” she said.