A Brighton Beach tradition marking the neighborhood’s long history as an immigrant community will return next month against all odds, as those who have been putting it on for the past 45 years were unsure of its fate this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s the 44th annual Jubilee and it’s been a hard nut to crack,” said Pat Singer, founder of the Brighton Jubilee and executive director of the Brighton Neighborhood Association, “but we are putting it together very quickly because we didn’t know if we could do it.”
Singer first organized the Brighton Jubilee in 1977 to show the strength of her community in spite of its reported deterioration and rising crime at the time.
“We wanted to do something that summer to send a message that Brighton, while we were getting so many negative stories, that we were alive and well,” Singer said.
Now, the annual event has transformed into a celebration of what makes Brighton Beach unique — its rich cultural fabric cultivated by immigrants, mainly coming from former Soviet Union, Pakistan and Spanish-speaking countries, who brought their customs with them.
“It’s important to pull us all together,” Singer told Brooklyn Paper. “The mosaic is cracked because around every ethnic neighborhood is separation and I want to remind everyone we are all here as Americans to all work together.”
Starting at 10 am on Sunday, Aug. 29, Brighton Beach Avenue will be home to an array of stages, featuring cultural performances and Brooklyn-based bands from Corbin Place to Coney Island Avenue, and turning south toward the beach. Local radio stations like 95.5 FM K-Love Radio and Radio Freedom FM 104.7 will also take part in the afternoon’s entertainment as bargain dealers and food purveyors line the thoroughfare.
Attendees can also stop by informational booths hosted by city agencies and local nonprofits. And for those who are still unvaccinated, a NYC Health and Hospitals mobile vaccination truck will be on hand to administer the lifesaving jab at the street festival.
“We have been spearheading a fight to get people to vaccinate themselves,” Singer said. “I have it and my family all have it because I had COVID and it’s no joke.”
The Jubilee typically draws hundreds of thousands of people to the prominently Russian enclave and serves as the Brighton Neighborhood Association’s main fundraising event, which Singer said is especially crucial as they are facing some financial hardship after forgoing last year’s event. Making matters worse, the group saw a grant expire amid the pandemic.
“We made it through but it’s been a rough time,” she said, “so we are hoping to also make this financially successful to have a little money there.”
“Brighton Jubilee” [Brighton Beach Avenue between Corbin Place and Coney Island Avenue in Brighton Beach] Sunday, August 29 10 am – 6pm. Free.